Base Flood Elevation (BFE) - The elevation shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for Zones AE, AH, A1-A30, AR, AR/A, AR/AE, AR/A1-A30, AR/AH, AR/AO, V1-V30, and VE that indicates the water surface elevation resulting from a flood that has a 1% chance of equaling or exceeding that level in any given year.
Breakaway wall - A wall that is not part of the structural support of the building and is intended through its design and construction to collapse under specific lateral loading forces, without causing damage to the elevated portion of the building or supporting foundation system.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) - CERT trains and organizes teams of volunteers that provide assistance to their communities before, during, and after disasters. CERT volunteers help others following disasters when professional responders are not immediately available to help, and supplement and support the efforts of professional responders upon their arrival. Volunteers also support emergency response agencies by organizing and participating in local preparedness projects and initiatives. The CERT program educates participants about how to prepare for hazards that may impact their communities and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.
Community Rating System (CRS) - A program developed by the FEMA Mitigation Division to provide incentives for those communities in the National Flood Insurance Program that have gone beyond the minimum floodplain management requirements to develop extra measures to provide protection from flooding.
Elevated Building - A building that has no basement and has its lowest elevated floor raised above the ground level by foundation walls, shear walls, posts, piers, pilings, or columns. Solid foundation perimeter walls are not an acceptable means of elevating buildings in V and VE zones.
Elevation Certificate - A certificate that verifies the elevation data of a structure on a given property relative to the ground level. The Elevation Certificate is used by local communities and builders to ensure compliance with local floodplain management ordinances and is also used by insurance agents and companies in the rating of flood insurance policies.
Enclosure - That portion of an elevated building below the lowest elevated floor that is either partially or fully shut-in by rigid walls.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - The federal agency within the Department of Homeland Security that is tasked with responding to, planning for, recovering from, and mitigating against man-made and natural disasters.
Federal Policy Fee - A flat charge that the policyholder must pay on each new or renewal policy to defray certain administrative expenses incurred in carrying out the National Flood Insurance Program.
Flood - A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder's property) from one of the following:
- Overflow of inland or tidal waters
- Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source
- Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above
Flood Disaster Protection Act (FDPA) of 1973 - Made the purchase of flood insurance mandatory for the protection of property located in Special Flood Hazard Areas.
Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM) - Official map of a community issued by the Federal Insurance Administrator, where the boundaries of the flood, mudflow, and related erosion areas having special hazards have been designated.
Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) - Official map of a community on which the Mitigation Division Administrator has delineated both the special hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.
Flood Zone (Zone) - A geographical area shown on a Flood Hazard Boundary Map or a Flood Insurance Rate Map that reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.
Floodplain - Any land area susceptible to being inundated by floodwaters from any source.
Floodplain Management - The operation of an overall program of corrective and preventive measures for reducing flood damage, including but not limited to, emergency preparedness plans, flood control works, and floodplain management regulations.
Grandfathering - An exemption based on circumstances previously existing. Under the NFIP, buildings located in Emergency Program communities and Pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map buildings in the Regular Program are eligible for subsidized flood insurance rates. Post-Flood Insurance Rate Map buildings in the Regular Program built in compliance with the floodplain management regulations in effect at the start of construction will continue to have favorable rate treatment even though higher base flood elevations or more restrictive, greater risk zone designations result from Flood Insurance Rate Map revisions.
Group Flood Insurance Policy (GFIP) - Issued by the NFIP Direct Program in response to a presidential disaster declaration. Disaster assistance applicants, in exchange for a modest premium, receive a GFIP certificate for a minimum amount of building and/or contents coverage for a 3-year policy period. An applicant may cancel the group policy certificate at any time and secure a regular Standard Flood Insurance Policy through the NFIP.
Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) - Coverage for expenses a property owner must incur, above and beyond the cost to repair the physical damage the structure actually sustained from a flooding event, to comply with mitigation requirements of state or local floodplain management ordinances or laws. Acceptable mitigation measures are elevation, flood-proofing, relocation, demolition, or any combination thereof.
Mandatory Purchase - Under the provisions of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, individuals, businesses, and others buying, building, or improving property located in identified areas of special flood hazards within participating communities are required to purchase flood insurance as a prerequisite for receiving any type of direct or indirect federal financial assistance (e.g., any loan, grant, guaranty, insurance, payment, subsidy, or disaster assistance) when the building or personal property is the subject of or security for such assistance.
Mitigation Division - A division under FEMA that manages the NFIP and oversees FEMA’s mitigation programs.
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) - A federal program enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase insurance protection against losses from flooding. This insurance is designed to provide an insurance alternative to disaster assistance to meet the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods.
National Flood Insurance Reform Act (NFIRA) - The purpose of the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 is to improve the financial condition of the NFIP and reduce federal expenditures for disaster assistance to flood-damaged properties. The act affects every part of NFIP, insurance, mapping and floodplain management. NFIRA also gives lenders tools with which to enforce requirements for flood insurance coverage mandated under the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973.
Non-Special Flood Hazard Area (NSFHA) - An area in a low to moderate risk flood zone (Zones B, C, X) that is not in any immediate danger from flooding caused by overflowing rivers or hard rains. However, it's important to note that structures within a NSFHA are still at risk.
Post-FIRM Building - A building for which construction or substantial improvement occurred after December 31, 1974, or on or after the effective date of an initial Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), whichever is later.
Pre-FIRM Building - A building for which construction or substantial improvement occurred on or before December 31, 1974, or before the effective date of an initial Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).
Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) - A policy that offers fixed combinations of building/contents coverage or contents-only coverage at modest, fixed premiums. The PRP is available for property located in B, C, and X zones in Regular Program communities that meet eligibility requirements based on the property's flood loss history.
Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) - A FEMA-identified high-risk flood area where flood insurance is mandatory for properties. An area having special flood, mudflow, or flood-related erosion hazards, and shown on a Flood Hazard Boundary Map or a Flood Insurance Rate Map as Zone A, AO, A1-A30, AE, A99, AH, AR, AR/A, AR/AE, AR/AH, AR/AO, AR/A1-A30, V1-V30, VE, or V.
Write Your Own (WYO) Program - A cooperative undertaking of the insurance industry and FEMA begun in October 1983. The WYO Program operates within the context of the NFIP and involves private insurance carriers who issue and service NFIP policies.
Zone - A geographical area shown on a Flood Hazard Boundary Map or a Flood Insurance Rate Map that reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.