The FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) have entered a new era. FEMA's Map Service Center provides multiple ways to access the Flood Information. This is where a FIRMette can be created, the National Flood Hazard Layer, DFIRMs, and the DFIRM database can be downloaded, and where FIRMs and the Flood Insurance Study can be ordered.
Also, keep in mind that each participating community keeps a paper copy of the FIRMs on file in the local floodplain manager's office.
FIRM Backup Data:
Obtaining the backup data for the newly updated FIRMs can be done through the FEMA Map Service Center. The information is provided as a digital version of the FEMA flood insurance rate map that is designed for use with digital mapping and analysis software known as the DFIRM Database. To obtain this data you must first become a registered customer. Only registered customers can place orders with the FEMA Map Service Center. Then the information can be ordered by phone, downloaded, or a Map Service Center Order Form can be submitted by fax or mail. All contact information and fees can be found at the Ordering information and a Price List page.
National Flood Hazard Layer:
The National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) is a new product available from the Map Service Center. The NFHL is a computer database that contains the flood hazard map information from FEMA's Flood Map Modernization program. This map data is from Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) databases and Letters of Map Revision (LOMRs). Products and services include MapViewer - Web, utility files to view the NFHL in Google Earth, a Web Map Service, and NFHL GIS data. All of these are available from the Map Service Center.
SC Floodplain Mapping Initiative:
The Flood Mitigation Program of SCDNR, in partnership with FEMA, continues to update Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) in the state. Historically, studies have been done under Map Modernization in South Carolina, and some counties continue to be mapped under this process. However, improvements to the process have been made under the Risk MAP (Mapping, Assessment and Planning) Program.
The goal of Risk MAP is to deliver quality data that increases public awareness and leads to action that reduces risk to life and property. With a heavier emphasis on the mitigation actions, supported by additional non-regulatory products such as Depth Grids and Areas of Mitigation Interest, Risk MAP is being run on both a county-wide and watershed basis. The current watersheds under Risk MAP are the Wateree, Lower Catawba, and Seneca. The county-wide studies that were converted from Map Modernization to Risk MAP are Greenville, Richland, Lexington, Florence and Berkeley.