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FEMA Flood Zone

Flood Insurance Rate Maps

The Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) is the official flood map of a community on which FEMA has delineated both the special hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.  Each FIRM has a unique identifier and a designated effective date. The effective date is the date on which the FIRM enters into force as the official regulatory flood map for the area it covers. 

To access the Flood Insurance Rate Maps in digital format, please visit FEMA's Map Service Center.  To locate the correct FIRM for your property location, follow these instructions:

1.  In the Search box enter your property address (including city and state) and click on "Search".

2.  When the map appears, select the View button.  The map will pop up in a new window.

3.  Click on the buttons in the left column to manipulate the map.  For example, clicking on the "MAX Zoom Out" button expands the map to fill the screen window.

Information regarding the flood zone designation for properties in the City of Mission Viejo may also be obtained by using the City's GIS system and entering a specific property address or APN number. To obtain your property's information, click on "View" and in the drop-down menu click on "FIRM Panel". Click on the FIRM Panel Number once it appears on the map for the FIRM ID and effective date.

What is a FIRMette?

Full FIRM panels are quite large (36' x 25.875'), so most users will prefer to create and print out a smaller selected portion. After finding your specific area of interest, such as your house or development, you can create a FIRMette of the area. A FIRMette is a full-scale section of a FIRM that you create yourself and that is formatted to fit on standard printer paper sizes. FIRMettes can be used to make determinations under the National Flood Insurance Program.

Moving Around in FIRMette Web

You can navigate around the image of the map and use the labeled streets or other map features to locate your specific area of interest. Select the Zoom In or Zoom Out buttons to zoom in or out on the image when you click the cursor on the map. Use the Pan button to move around within the map when you click the cursor.

Making a FIRMette

Once you have chosen the tab to Make a FIRMette, FIRMette Web loads a set of new printing functionalities, located at the bottom of the toolbar area, and three translucent boxes in the main map window.  The printing functionalities allow you to specify aspects of the FIRMette output such as page size and file format, and the translucent boxes allow you to specify the print area. There are four basic steps for making a FIRMette:

1.  Select a page size.

There are three standard page sizes, and the default is letter size. You can adjust the page size by selecting the corresponding button. Notice that the size of the translucent box located at the upper left corner of the map changes with the page size, i.e., the larger the page size, the bigger the area of the box and vice versa.

2.  Confirm the special print area.     

There are three translucent boxes in the main map window. Their function is to help the user to define the printing area of the map, the scale and north arrow, and the FIRMette title block. You can define the area by dragging the active box over to the area of interest (e.g., near your property location). An active box is represented by the red translucent box with the green border, and only one box is active at a time. Switching between the active boxes can be done by clicking on the corresponding buttons. 

3.  Select a save format. 

A FIRMette can be created in either .pdf or .tif format. After clicking the corresponding button, a preview page is generated which allows you to see how the FIRMette will look.

4.  Save the FIRMette.  

By selecting the Save your FIRMette button, a download prompt opens.  Depending on your internet browser and settings, you may be asked to select a preferred option (e.g., Save, Save As, etc.) to download the FIRMette to your computer in your chosen file format.  Otherwise, the download will begin automatically.

Flood Insurance Rate Map and National Flood Insurance Program information is also available at the City's Engineering Counter and Mission Viejo Library.  Private companies offer flood zone determinations based upon the current Flood Insurance Rate Map information.  For floodplain questions other than specific zone determinations, please check out the Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information or contact:

FEMA—Flood Plain Management Information

The City of Mission Viejo participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  This is a voluntary program in which the City is required to follow a rigorous certification process and must enforce and maintain minimum flood plain management standards in order to maintain eligibility.  For example, the City has to ensure that projects within or fringing on a floodway or floodplain comply with FEMA regulations and requirements. Lenders, appraisers, insurance companies, realtors, and property owners are interested in the flood zone or Special Flood Hazard Area, which is reflected on Flood Insurance Rate Maps published by FEMA and is normally used to evaluate construction, lending and insurance requirements.

Since the City has been certified by the NFIP, homeowners, renters, and businesses are eligible to purchase flood insurance.  In addition, the City has gone through additional certification measures, which entitle anyone who purchases flood insurance within the City to a discount on their premium.

For further information regarding any flood-related item, please contact:

Richard Schlesinger, P.E.
City Engineer
City of Mission Viejo
200 Civic Center
Mission Viejo, California 92691