FIRMs and Floodplains

Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Floodplain Determinations

To determine the flood hazard for a particular area, FEMA conducts a Flood Insurance Study (FIS). An FIS is based on historic flood levels, climate, topography, hydrologic (quantity of water) and hydraulic (movement of water) data, the amount of open space and development, and flood control works. The results of the FIS are used to draw the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). The map is used to delineate the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), i.e., the area that would be inundated by a flood event having a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. The maps are divided into flood zones based on risk and the estimated depth to which water will rise, called the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Flood zones seen on the current Flagler Beach FIRMs, dated July 17, 2006, include:

Flood Zone

This area is inside the SFHA and has a high risk of flood. Primary frontal dunes and areas along coasts are subject to inundation with additional hazards due to storm-induced velocity wave action. BFEs are determined from detailed hydraulic coastal analyses. Purchase of flood insurance is mandatory. (Replaces Zones V1-V30 on older maps.)

This area is inside the SFHA and has a high risk of flood. Areas subject to inundation determined by detailed methods. BFEs are shown within these zones. In Flagler Beach, the BFE ranges from 4 to 5 feet. Purchase of flood insurance is mandatory. (Replaces Zones A1-A30 on older maps.)
X (unshaded)

The area is outside the SFHA, and considered to have a moderate, rather than high, flood risk. It represents the area between the 1% and 0.2% flood (the “100-year” and “500-year” flood). Purchase of flood insurance is recommended but not required. (Replaces Zone B on older maps.)
(shaded or stippled)

This area is outside the SFHA; the risk is considered minimal, but represents more than one type of risk. It may be subject to 0.2% (500-year) flood, or it may be subject to the 1% flood but with flood depth of less than 1 foot, or the drainage area is less than 1 square mile, or it’s protected by a levee. Purchase of flood insurance is recommended but not required. (Replaces Zone C on older maps.)

The Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982 created Otherwise Protected Areas (OPA). Boundaries generally coincide with conservation or recreation areas. Gamble Rodgers State Park is an OPA. Flood insurance is not available within an OPA unless it is documented that structures are used in a manner consistent with the purpose for which the area is protected.

Flagler Beach FIRMs

FIRMs for Flagler Beach are available for public view at City Hall (at either the Engineering Department at the Main Entrance off 2nd Street or the Building Department counter off 3rd Street) and the City Library on South 7th Street. There are knowledgeable employees available to assist the public on how to read FIRMs. There is also a Certified Floodplain Manager on staff who can supply a Floodplain Determination for a specific address or Assessor’s Parcel Number. (The maps must remain at the counter as the City does not have additional copies for public distribution.) Stop in or call the Engineering Department at (386) 517-2400, extension 248, to request a Floodplain Determination form for your property of interest.


For the computer savvy, FEMA’s Map Service Center provides an on-line mapping service for FIRMs nationwide. A site specific “FIRMette” can be produced by an individual user. A link to the FIRMette is included in Resource Links at the bottom of this page. Information specific to Flagler Beach that may save you time navigating the site includes:

  • Flagler County’s Map Index
  • Number: 12035CINDOA
  • Flagler Beach’s Community Number: 120085
  • Panels: 0144D, 0232D, 0234D, 0251D, 0253D, and 0261D
  • Effective Date: July 17, 2006

Coastal A Zone

New FIRMs are expected for Flagler Beach within the next two years. FEMA Region 4, Atlanta, is funding a coastal flood hazard study of Florida coastlines. This study is in response to new development and relies on the latest topography and bathymetry data available, as well as sophisticated modeling techniques, to calculate storm surge, overland waves distances, and beach erosion. The revised maps will include a new zone called “Coastal A Zone,” defined as “the area within a special flood hazard area lying landward of a V zone…where potential for breaking wave heights is greater than or equal to 1.5 feet and less than three feet.” The landward limit of the Coastal A Zone will be defined by a line on the map called the Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LiMWA). Flagler Beach’s new FIRMs are projected to be finalized in 2016, possibly earlier.

Elevation Certificate

An Elevation Certificate (EC) is used to certify the elevation of a building and its utilities relative to the adjacent grade of the property and the estimated rise (or depth) of water in the event of the 100-year flood. It’s an important administrative tool required by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). An EC has several uses, but its main purpose is to determine the proper flood insurance rate for a particular property.

An EC must be prepared, signed, and sealed by a land surveyor, engineer, or architect authorized by law to certify elevation information. The City cannot recommend a company for you, but there are a number of local businesses with the proper credentials and documents to provide a homeowner or business with an EC. Check on-line, the yellow pages, or ask a neighbor.

A new EC is not required each time a property is sold. Unless the building footprint has been changed, an EC from a previous owner is transferable. Call the City to see if a Finished Construction EC is available for your address. Flagler Beach, as a participating community in FEMA’s NFIP, is required to keep copies of ECs for all new and substantially improved buildings. If the City cannot provide you with an EC and you have to obtain one, please make sure your surveyor provides a copy to the City. This ensures one will be available in the future when it’s time to sell your home.