Glossary


Benchmark: A point of reference for a measurement.


Community Map Repository: The community office responsible for floodplain management activities where Flood Insurance Studies and Flood Maps can be reviewed.


Community Rating System (CRS):  A voluntary incentive program for communities that recognizes and encourages floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum National Flood Insurance Program requirements. Communities that act to reduce flood risk by meeting goals of the CRS program are rewarded with discounted flood insurance premium rates. The magnitude of the discount is dependent upon the community's rating and classification by FEMA. Additional information can be found at: http://www.fema.gov/business/nfip/crs.shtm


Datum: A standard position or level that measurements are taken from.


Elevation Certificate: An elevation certificate is a 3-page FEMA form for documenting property information. It can be used to comply with local floodplain ordinances, support a Letter of Map Change request, or for determining the most appropriate flood insurance rating. Usually the form must be completed and certified by a licensed professional. But for the purpose of seeking a more desirable flood insurance rate for a structure located in an "A" or "AO" Flood Zone, anyone can complete it (see How to Fill out an Elevation Certificate). The official Elevation Certificate form and instructions are available at:www.fema.gov/business/nfip/elvinst.shtmAdditional information can be found in FEMA Publication 467-1.


Engineered Flood Vent: A flood opening that is certified to automatically equalize hydrostatic flood forces on exterior walls. The certification will define the amount of enclosed area that FEMA accepts as protected by the vent. Some commercial providers of engineered flood vents include:
    - Smart Vent (located in New Jersey)
    - USA Flood Air Vents (located in New York)
    - Crawlspace Door Systems, Inc (located in Virginia)


FIRM: acronym for Flood Insurance Rate Map.


Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973: One of two Federal statutes that mandate the purchase of flood insurance. This statute mandates that federally regulated lenders can not make, increase, extend, or renew any loan on applicable structures and buildings in a Special Flood Hazard Area unless flood insurance is purchased. The full text of the Act is available in multiple formats at OpenLibrary.org. The other Federal statute is the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994.


Flood Opening: A permanent opening in a structure, such as a vent, that allows for the free passage of water automatically in both directions without human intervention. Under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a minimum of two openings is required for enclosures or crawlspaces. The openings shall provide a total net area of not less than one square inch for every square foot of area enclosed, excluding any bars, louvers, or other covers of the opening. Alternatively, an Individual Engineered Flood Openings Certification or an Evaluation Report issued by the International Code Council Evaluation Service (ICC ES) may be submitted to document that the design of the openings will allow for the automatic equalization of hydrostatic flood forces on exterior walls. An engineered flood vent can provide better protection then a typical air vent for the same amount of opening, therefore these openings can be less than one square inch for every square foot of enclosed area. A window, a door, or a garage door is not considered a flood opening, but a flood opening may be installed within a door. Openings shall be on at least two sides of the enclosed area. If a building has more than one enclosed area, each area must have openings to allow floodwater to directly enter. The bottom of the openings must be no higher than one foot above the higher of the exterior or interior grade or floor immediately below the opening.  For more guidance on flood openings, see NFIP Technical Bulletin 1.


LOMA: acronym for Letter of Map Amendment.


LOMC: acronym for Letter of Map Change.


LOMR: acronym for Letter of Map Revision.


National Geodetic Survey (NGS): A branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service. The official website of the NGS is: www.ngs.noaa.gov.


National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994: One of two Federal statutes that mandate the purchase of flood insurance.  This statute reinforces the requirement imposed by the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 to obtain and maintain flood insurance, adds potential monetary penalties on lenders for non-compliance, requires escrow accounts for other insurance purposes, and requires that lenders review flood maps and map changes. The full text of the Act is available in multiple formats at www.fema.gov/library.


NAVD-88: acronym for North American Vertical Datum of 1988. [more at Wikipedia]


NFIP: acronym for National Flood Insurance Program. The official website of the NFIP is: www.floodsmart.gov.


NGS: acronym for National Geodetic Survey.


NGVD-29: acronym for National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929. [more at Wikipedia]


Post-FIRM: After the effective date of a community's initial Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).


Pre-FIRM: Before the effective date of a community's initial Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).