FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) maps are important for individuals and communities to understand the potential flood hazards in their area. In Nantucket, this is particularly important as the island sometimes experiences coastal flooding. Consequently, properties are destroyed, and lives are put in danger. Residents and property owners must understand FEMA flood maps and the associated risks to avoid or better prepare themselves for such eventualities.
The maps can be found at local government offices and libraries. They are also on the FEMA Flood Map Service Center website and the Nantucket Geographic Information System (GIS) website. The former provides an interactive map featuring flood hazard information. To view it, you will need to key in your location’s particulars, including your street address and zip code.
The Nantucket GIS website provides maps and data specific to Nantucket. This includes information on the town’s flood management program and flood insurance.
FEMA maps are commonly used by insurance companies, homeowners, and local authorities to determine flood insurance rates, building codes, and emergency management plans. They are divided into three categories: Flood Hazard Boundary Maps (FHBM), Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), and Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRM)
FHBM highlights the boundaries of areas at high risk of flooding. However, they do not provide specific information on the depth or severity of the flood.
FIRM avails detailed information about flood risks, including the depth and severity of potential flooding. Flood insurance rates and building codes are established based on the information on this map.
DFIRM is an electronic version of the FIRM. It shows more accurate and up-to-date information on flood risks and is mostly used by insurance companies and local authorities.
Once you find out that your property and possessions are in a flood-prone area, the initial measure is to get flood insurance. You can obtain this from private insurance firms or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It is important to note that there is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance coverage takes effect, so purchasing insurance as soon as possible is advisable.
You also should comply with Nantucket’s building codes and regulations to reduce the risk of flooding and minimize flood damage. These guidelines might include raising your property’s elevation, implementing flood vents, and utilizing flood-resistant materials.