Risk MAP Intro


Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (Risk MAP) is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Program that provides communities with flood information and tools they can use to enhance their mitigation plans and take action to better protect their citizens.

Not only is flooding one of the most common and costly disasters, flood risk can also change over time because of new building and development, weather patterns and other factors. FEMA is working with federal, state, tribal and local partners across the nation to identify flood risk and help reduce that risk through the Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) program.

Risk MAP provides high quality flood maps and information, tools to better assess the risk from flooding and planning and outreach support to communities to help them take action to reduce (or mitigate) flood risk. Each Risk MAP flood risk project is tailored to the needs of each community and may involve different products and services. 

The Risk MAP program focuses on providing flood prone communities across the nation with tools and data that can be used to mitigate the risk and impact from flooding and communicate with residents and businesses about that risk.  You, as a community official, play an important role in the Risk MAP process.  When it comes to flooding, FEMA recommends that you:

  • Know Your Risk from flooding;
  • Know Your Role in the Risk MAP process; and
  • Take Action to reduce your community’s risk from flooding.


Know Your Flood Risk


Implementing Risk MAP

Everyone has a role to play when it comes to Risk MAP. While FEMA is responsible for the overall administration of the program, Risk MAP is a joint effort involving many other partners. Follow the links to learn what Risk MAP means for you.


Guidelines and Standards for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping

KY RiskMAP Color logo

The guidelines and standards define the implementation details of the statutory and regulatory requirements for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) mapping. They describe how FEMA performs Flood Risk Projects, Letters of Map Change (LOMC), and related coordination activities. They are intended for mapping professionals and Cooperating Technical Partners (CTPs) under the Risk MAP Program.

The guidelines and standards are organized in a hierarchy. Standards are mandatory FEMA policy. They are divided into two categories.

Program Standards
Define important elements of the Risk MAP Program. Exceptions to program standards can be granted only by program leadership.

Working Standards
A required element of the Risk MAP Program, usually at a more detailed level than the program standards. Working standards are applied by specialists (engineers, planners, technicians, scientists, etc.) and generally have minimal ethical, political, and legal impacts to the program. FEMA Regional Offices may occasionally grant exceptions to these requirements.

Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (RiskMAP) standards as part of the semi-annual maintenance process. The changes clarify existing policy on validation procedures for existing flood maps and adjusting elevation data to account for temporary disturbances related to beach nourishment. The changes adopt the latest USGS / 3D Elevation Program specification for lidar and clarify the requirement for all Letters of Map Revision (LOMRs) to update the National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) and to reflect the location for LOMRs in the NFHL. Finally, a new standard establishes policy for applying the regulatory definitions in the identification of primary frontal dunes. This standard provides clarification for how FEMA will interpret the “continuous or nearly continuous” element of the regulatory definition of a primary frontal dune going forward. This clarification is most likely relevant to property specific requests for revisions to the primary frontal dune designation.


Reducing Risk And Improving Resilience To Buildings And Their Utility Systems – Fact Sheets

March 2019

FEMA Building Sciences at HQ (Building Science Branch – BSB) and Region IV are pleased to announce the release of two fact sheets aimed at reducing risk and improving resilience to buildings and their utility systems. The fact sheets explain that, before building in your community, it is important to recognize the hazards that may be present, their potential impact, and provides numerous considerations and resources to help mitigate those risks.  Effective design, construction, code enforcement and building to or exceeding the latest standard of practice, increases the disaster resilience of structures and their associated utility systems exposed to risk, thereby reducing damages and injuries.

  • Fact Sheet one, entitled FEMA Building Science Considerations for Risk MAP, lists numerous Risk MAP Flood Risk products through which a Building Science lens can be applied by stakeholders to help minimize natural hazard impacts to their property or community.  These include Depth Grids, changes since the last Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), Flood Risk Assessment, Community Engagement and Outreach, as well as other strategies, such as building above code, adopting and enforcing more stringent regulations and utilizing FEMA best practices.
  • The second fact sheet: FEMA Building Science Resources to Help Reduce Risk and Improve Resilienceprovides numerous resources to help foster disaster-resilient communities.  Within the framework of Risk MAP, various stakeholders and communities can use building science resources to help better understand their vulnerabilities and risks, along with options available to them for implementing effective mitigation efforts to reduce building and utility damage and down time and reduce flood insurance premiums.

To do this, there are currently over two hundred BSB flood, wind, Building Code, Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT), Recovery Advisory and other resources available.  Ultimately, BSB resources can enhance Risk MAP product utilization by stakeholders and communities incorporating disaster resilience or best practices into their building and utility planning, code enforcement, design and construction.





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