The Town of Old Saybrook, like most municipalities across the country, participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for the ultimate goal of protecting Old Saybrook and its citizens from flood-related loss of life and property. Old Saybrook joined the NFIP on July 3, 1978. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) develops NFIP Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) through an engineering report called the Flood Insurance Study (FIS). Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) depict the limits of the floodwaters as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs).
The Town uses the Flood Insurance Study and the Flood Insurance Rate Maps to enhance local mitigation plans, communicate effectively to citizens about flood risks, and make informed decisions to protect local lives and property. The Special Flood Hazard Area is the area where the National Flood Insurance Program’s floodplain management regulations must be enforced. Town officials use the information in the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, particularly the flood zone designation, to issue permits for construction or renovation that collectively protects the community from future flood risks.
Insurance agents and lenders use Flood Insurance Rate Maps to determine where a property owner must purchase flood insurance and at what rate that insurance is charged. The Special Flood Hazard Area is the area where the purchase of flood insurance is mandatory; each flood zone reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.
FEMA develops new Flood Insurance Rate Maps because floodplains are constantly changing due to construction, natural processes (such as rain, wind & snowmelt), floodplain widening or shifting, poor drainage systems, and failed levees or dams. FEMA uses new and more accurate geophysical data as it becomes available.