Webinar Archives

FEMA updates at Map Service Center – New enhancements

Map Service Center Enhancements and Related Tools Updates

A number of important changes are coming to FEMA’s Map Service Center (MSC) and related services as the agency continues to improve how we provide information related to the delivery of flood maps. On February 3rd, FEMA will implement changes to the MSC Address Search tool and enhancements to the National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) Viewer. The updates streamline access to the NFHL, and reorganize how some other tools are accessed.  These updates help reduce the complexity of FEMA for map users by reducing the steps necessary to get the information they need and providing an authoritative, consolidated view of flood risk.

As you know, FEMA has been working for many years to transition fully to the use of digital flood maps. The changes on February 3rd continue the progress on this transition. Specifically, the changes will direct most users to the NFHL as the primary source for viewing and printing flood hazards information, but users will still be able to access the legacy FIRMette tool.

We have tested these enhancements with a number of internal and external stakeholders and the feedback was very positive. In addition, the input from these users has been incorporated into these latest updates.

There are four primary updates happening:

  • Map Service Center Enhancements

o   Customers will now be able to view an interactive NFHL map immediately following a search. Previously, customers needed to go to a different site to view the flood zones in an interactive map.

o   On the main MSC results page, customers will have the option to view and print a map for their location as a dynamic NFHL-based “FIRMette” (full-scale section of a FIRM formatted to fit on standard printer paper sizes). The NFHL FIRMette shows the current effective information, including recent Letters of Map Revision (LOMR), in a single view.

o   Previously, FIRMettes on the MSC could only be produced from static map images. With the older FIRMette Web tool users need to separately review any LOMRs on the map panel to make sure portions of their FIRMette have not been updated.

  • National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) Viewer

o   FEMA is upgrading the National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) viewer that provides users with a powerful interactive flood map tool for the whole country. The dynamic NFHL shows the current effective information including LOMRs since the most recent flood map revision.

o   The updated NFHL viewer will enable community officials and members of the general public to create on-demand printable maps of NFHL data using a FEMA-approved base map and a FEMA-defined map template. Users can create printable NFHL FIRMettes or full-size FIRM panels from the NFHL.

o   The updated NFHL viewer combines the previously separate NFHL web map with the beta-version NFHL print tool into a single solution and adds new features.

o   The new NFHL viewer will be hosted on the Federal GeoPlatform. This is a government-wide system to which FEMA is migrating many applications that previously were hosted on the FEMA GeoPlatform. The viewer can be accessed directly on the GeoPlatform or through links on the MSC.

o   The Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA) applications will be accessible on the GeoPlatform at https://hazards-FEMA.maps.arcgis.com

  • Preliminary Map Comparison Tool

o   The Preliminary Map Comparison Tool will allow customers to see “Preliminary” and “Effective” maps overlaid on one another.

o   Regulations require FEMA to publish Preliminary data for public review when updating flood maps for communities.

o   The Preliminary review process allows community officials and property owners to see how upcoming changes will affect them, and review the data for accuracy.

o   Insurance agents might use the comparison tool to anticipate how their clients may be affected. Real estate agents and mortgage brokers can determine what changes are likely to occur and how they may affect properties for sale.

o   With this tool, users can view the new flood hazard information overlaid with the existing information and save or print a report detailing the changes between these two data sets side-by-side for a single point of reference.

o   The viewer can be accessed directly on the GeoPlatform or through links from the preliminary data

  • FEMA’s Flood Risk Studies Engineering Library (FRISEL)

o   The FRiSEL now provides public downloads for engineering models and other supporting data.

o   Previously, the FRiSEL was searchable by the public, but its content could not be downloaded.

o   This capability provides immediate access to the detailed engineering models and other supporting data for FEMA flood studies for engineers and other technical experts working on flood risk issues.

o   The user community for the FRiSEL is different than the MSC, NFHL and Map Change Viewer. Very few members of the general public need or will be able to work with the complex technical data in the FRiSEL.

o   For years these data have only been available by request through the FEMA Engineering Library staff which made it slow and costly for requesters to get the information needed.

o   The data is highly complex and only relatively recent digital data is available. The Engineering Library staff is still available to assist stakeholders with finding the information they need if users are not able to download it from the FRiSEL. There are fees charged for research support from the Engineering Library staff.

Map Specialists at the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) are available to answer questions about FEMA’s flood hazard maps, available subscription services, online tools, and general site navigation.  Call (toll-free): 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627), or email FEMAMAPSpecialists@riskmapcds.com

APA webinar on Wednesday the 31st. “Flood mitigation in historic districts”

Hazards Planning Center

Planning Information Exchange

With a new award agreement granted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the successful Planning Information Exchange (PIE) webinar series has been extended for two additional years, starting October 1, 2016. APA will continue to act as the lead in an agreement with FEMA, and ASFPM as a partner. The quarterly webinars will continue to revolve around four central themes:

  • The information exchange focuses on all hazards.
  • The information exchange focuses primarily on mitigation planning but also its connections with recovery planning and preparedness.
  • APA and ASFPM act as co-conveners of all planning exchange webinars. This means that both organizations will use their respective web-based meeting platforms to set up, register, drive, facilitate, record, and provide technical support for all webinar meetings.
  • Planning exchange hosts select topics and commit to moderate, present, and lead the planning exchange webinars.


Flood Hazard Mitigation in Historic Districts

January 31, 2018 | noon–1:00 p.m. CT
(starting at 1 p.m. ET, 11:00 a.m. MT, 10 a.m. PT)

Register: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5448190454212072961

Historic communities and districts face a number of challenges when attempting to mitigate flood hazards. The 13th webinar in the PIE series features a presentation on flood hazard mitigation in historic districts by Louisette Leonard Scott, AICP, CFM, director of planning and development for the City of Mandeville, Louisiana. Shannon Burke, manager of APA’s Hazards Planning Center, will moderate.

Scott will discuss:

  • Keeping the historic context of your community intact while reducing risk through hazard mitigation
  • Embracing mitigation to protect historic properties
  • Local issues faced by planners when dealing with design standards and flood hazard areas
  • The various problems faced by homeowners associations when dealing with long-term flood hazards


Louisette Scott, AICP, CFM

Louisette Scott is the director of the Department of Planning and Development for the City of Mandeville, Louisiana, with over 30 years experience in city planning. As planning director, she is integrally involved in developing and administering the city’s regulations regarding all planning/zoning issues and subdivision development. The City of Mandeville has enjoyed a reputation for being proactive in landscaping, tree preservation, signage, and lighting regulations, as well as design guideline overlay districts. In 2012, the city adopted a Historic Preservation District which will continue to help in defining and preserving Mandeville’s historic character. As a coastal community, Mandeville has been addressing challenges with FEMA requirements and their impact upon the loal historic context. Scott has been influential in coordinating the design review process with local architects to meet the challenges of architectural design, historic context, and flood hazard mitigation.


Shannon Burke

As manager of APA’s Hazards Planning Center, Shannon Burke oversees research projects within the center, works to secure future funding, and builds partnerships with organizations working to advance resiliency. Burke has more than 20 years of experience as a hazard mitigation consultant, FEMA specialist, and local government planner for several jurisdictions in Louisiana, including the City of New Orleans Mayor’s Office and City Planning Commission. Burke’s family was directly impacted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, an experience that continues to motivate and guide her work in hazards planning. Because of Katrina, Burke has a particular interest in the power of planning to alleviate the impact of disasters on vulnerable and underserved populations. She has a Master of Science degree from the University of New Orleans College of Urban and Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana State University. She is also a board member of the a National Hazards Mitigation Association.

Webinar January 30 – 11:30am to 1:00pm ET

Below is the information for the Adobe Connect Meeting and phone connection for the “Integrating Social and Behavioral Sciences Within the Weather Enterprise” Webinar, to be presented this Tuesday, Jan. 30, from 11:30-1 at FEMA by staff from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine and FEMA.

If you want to attend in person, we’ll be at: FEMA, 400 C St, SW, DC, Rm 3SE-0308/3NE0108. And please come early, as you will have to sign in, get through security and be escorted to the 3rd floor meeting room. IN FACT, if you are coming, EARLY, from outside of FEMA, please let me know so that we can have staff available to get you into the building. edwathomas@aol.com Seating will be first come, first served.

Meeting Name: Lunch and Learn: “Integrating Social and Behavioral Sciences Within the Weather Enterprise” Webinar
When: 01/30/2018 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Time Zone: (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Conference Number(s):
North America: 1-800-320-4330
participant code: 905506

To join the meeting:

The Webinar will also present their recommendations for considering FEMA’s possible roles in advancing the support and application of critical research at the weather and social science interface.

About the organization:  The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the Nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine.

About the presentation: This briefing will provide an overview of the NASEM study on “Integrating Social and Behavioral Sciences within the Weather Enterprise”.  This study (sponsored by NOAA and FHWA) discusses how social science insights can help the weather enterprise to improve weather hazard monitoring, assessment, forecasting and communication processes, to aid emergency management and inform protective action strategies, and to develop more resilient infrastructure and take other steps to improve weather readiness and assure effective long-term recovery.  They will  discuss the critical roles that Federal Agencies, private sector weather companies, and academic research institutions can all play in advancing the support for and application of research at the intersection of weather and social and behavioral sciences.  The briefing will be led by the study committee co-Chairs, Bill Hooke and Ann Bostrom (online), and committee member Jackie Snelling.   The presentation will also include a very brief overview of a related new Academies report on “Emergency Alert and Warning Systems: Current Knowledge and Future Research Directions

Biosketches for Speakers

  • WILLIAM H. HOOKE is Associate Executive Director of the American Meteorological Society. He directed the AMS Policy Program from 2001-2013.  Educated as an atmospheric scientist, he has published widely on atmospheric wave dynamics, remote sensing, and natural hazards science and policy. He worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 1967-2000 in a series of research and management positions, including Deputy Chief Scientist and Acting Chief Scientist. Between 1993 and 2000, he chaired the U.S. Interagency Subcommittee for Natural Disaster Reduction, operated out of the White House.
  • ANN BOSTROM is a Professor in Environmental Policy at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance of the University of Washington, Seattle. Dr. Bostrom previously served on the faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology from 1992-2007, where she served as an associate dean for research at and a professor in the School of Public Policy. She co-directed the Decision Risk and Management Science Program at the National Science Foundation from 1999-2001. Her research focuses on risk perception, communication, and management, and on environmental policy and decision-making under uncertainty. Dr. Bostrom serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Risk Research and is past president and an elected fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis.
  • JACQUELINE SNELLING serves as Senior Policy Advisor to the Director in DHS/FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division with responsibilities for national policy and guidance, research, evaluation and assessment, and initiatives to support individual and community preparedness and resilience at all levels. Her responsibilities include social science research to inform effective behavioral change strategies in public preparedness and the scientific validation of recommended protective actions for the public. Ms. Snelling’s work for DHS/FEMA builds on a 30 year public service career of senior policy and management positions at all levels of government and extensive volunteer community service.

Staff representatives:

Laurie Geller, study director, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Jon Eisenberg, study director, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board


Vincent J. Brown
Senior Program Specialist
Risk Management Directorate
Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration
Office  202 646-2725
Mobile  202 365-5338

FEMA Puerto Rico Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator Job Posting

FEMA is currently seeking a qualified candidate to assume the role of Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator in Puerto Rico. Knowing the RNPN represents a talented pool of expertise, industry knowledge, and commitment to the field, we wanted to ensure the opportunity was communicated with our partner networks.

This role will lead and coordinate the timely delivery of Federal Disaster Recovery assistance to support the commonwealth, local governments, and affected communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The position is a limited term Senior Executive Service (SES) position for a three year period and will be based in San Juan.

To learn more about the requirements, qualifications, and how to apply, please visit the following link.


If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. We encourage you to share with your networks!



Sarah D. Ice
Program Specialist

Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Office 202-646-3937
Cell 202-320-5577

SPANISH Version of Building Your Roadmap to a Disaster Resilient Future

NHMA is extremely proud and delighted that we have completed the Spanish Language version of Building Your Roadmap To A Disaster Resilient Future! Construya Su Ruta para un Futuro Resiliente ante Desastres

The publication was made possible by the expert subject matter translation dedicated work of Dr, Alessandra Jerolleman, our multi-talented and multilingual former Executive Director and current Board Member and formatting work of Dr. Mila Harrison and Gina Wightman of Wightman Associates, as well as the generous financial contribution of Dr. John Wiener who paid the cost of doing the translation of this 53,000 word document.

Cover of the new Spanish version of the Roadmap