What You Should Know
The Colorado Risk MAP program is a collaborative effort among the CWCB, FEMA, and local communities. Projects are cost-shared among FEMA, CWCB and local communities and mapping needs for each community is assessed early on during a discovery or scoping meeting. The project scope is determined after careful consideration of local community needs and available funding. CWCB mapping partners are responsible for the work performed as part of the Risk MAP projects.

You may view or download current effective FIRMs or DFIRMs and associated FIS reports or order printed paper copies of current effective FIRMs or DFIRMs and FIS reports from the FEMA Map Service Center Website. You may also contact the Map Service Center by telephone, toll free, at 1-800-358-9616.

You may order paper copies of the effective maps and reports from the Map Service Center until September 30, 2009. Effective on October 1, 2009, the Map Service Center will only distribute digital versions of the maps and FIS reports To learn more about this change in FEMA policy, please visit the Moving From Paper to Digital Flood Hazard Information page on the FEMA Website.

These modernized flood maps provide more detailed, reliable, and current flood hazard and risk data in digital format. Knowing a more up-to-date picture of a community’s flood risk will allow community officials and citizens to make more informed decisions on where to build and to what height above the ground new building should be constructed.

How You Should Use the New Flood Maps
As the DFIRMs are adopted by each of the communities, they will be used for flood insurance and floodplain management/development purposes. However, even before the DFIRMs are adopted, we encourage community officials to view the DFIRM panels for your community and see how the flood hazards and related risks have changed since the previously effective FIRMs were issued.

You also may want to view the maps to help you make more informed decisions about where to buy property or where to construct a new building. Also, a property that may have been mapped in a low- or moderate-risk area (labeled Zone B, Zone C, or Zone X) on the previously effective FIRM may be mapping in a high-risk Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) on the DFIRM. If so, and flood insurance is purchased before the DFIRM becomes effective, it could result in a lower insurance premium. This process is known as “grandfathering,” and significant cost savings could be realized—if you purchase flood insurance before the DFIRM becomes effective. On the Flood Insurance page, on the FEMA Website, you will find an information sheet on grandfathering that you can download. You should also discuss the benefits of purchasing an insurance policy now with your insurance agent or company.

As the DFIRMs become effective, they will also supersede (for flood insurance and floodplain management purposes), the current effective FIRMs.

Steps You Can Take
You can take steps to reduce your losses in the event of a flood by building outside of the high-risk SFHAs or by elevating your structure above the Base Flood Elevation. 

FEMA also has developed a series of useful NFIP-related documents related to the rebuilding effort that would be worth consulting.

As mentioned above, you also can protect yourself financially by purchasing flood insurance offered through the NFIP.