Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) being updated for my community?

The risk for flooding changes over time due to erosion, land use, weather events and other factors. The likelihood of inland, riverine flooding has changed along with these factors. New Jersey is one of the most populated areas in the nation, and a large amount of development has happened since the effective date of the existing FIRMs.

Since that time, there have also been advancements in the methodologies, technologies, and information available to map riverine flood hazards. The Flood Study and FIRMs will use the most current and accepted methods and information available.

Will the preliminary FIRMs affect flood insurance rates and requirements?

No, the preliminary FIRMs will not immediately affect flood insurance rates or the requirement to purchase Federal flood insurance in high risk flood areas. Only after completion of the entire map adoption process, including an appeals period, does the preliminary flood mapping become finalized as the effective FIRM.  Once the effective FIRM has been officially adopted by your community officials, it can be used to rate flood insurance policies or require the purchase of flood insurance.

How can I view the preliminary FIRMs?

You can view the preliminary FIRMs online at The maps are also available at your community’s municipal offices.

Online tutorials are available from FEMA to help users understand how to read the FIRM and FIS Report.

When will the preliminary FIRMs be finalized?

Typically it takes 18-24 months to finalize the preliminary FIRM after it is released, but it can take longer.

I don’t agree with the information shown on the preliminary FIRM. How can I provide my comments to FEMA on the maps?

After the preliminary FIRMs are issued, a series of Public Open Houses will be held by FEMA during which community officials and the public can ask questions and provide their comments about the maps. Once scheduled, the times and dates of all meetings will be posted on this website under the “Meetings/Material”.

FEMA also provides a 90–day appeal period for all new or modified flood hazard information on the preliminary FIRM. Interested parties can submit scientific or technical information that proves the flood hazard information is not correct through the end of the appeal period. Learn more at Map Adoption Process page.

Once FEMA has sent municipal officials the proposed Flood Hazard Designation notice, which will be published in local newspapers as well, the 90-day appeal period begins.  Comments on other aspects of the FIRM such as road name and corporate limit changes will also be accepted.  Residents should submit their comments/appeals to the municipality to be reviewed and forwarded to FEMA.

What will the flood hazard information on the FIRM be used for once finalized?

An effective FIRM is a map produced for a community participating in the National Flood Insurance Program that has been officially adopted by that community. The flood zones and Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) shown on the FIRM are used to determine flood insurance rates and requirements. Communities also use the FIRMs to manage development and to make other floodplain management decisions.

Who should I talk to if I have questions about the flood study or the FIRMs?

  • Visit Contacts for detailed information by topic.
  • The FEMA Map Information eXchange is available to assist you by phone toll-free at 1-877-FEMA-MAP (1-877-336-2627) or through e-mail or Live Chat service.