Before You Begin

Two quick things before you begin the CRS Community Self Assessment: an overview of how the site works, and what you’ll want to gather ahead of time to make the process as useful as possible.

How the CRS Community Self Assessment Website Works

There are 5 steps in the CRS Community Self Assessment:

STEP 1: Your Floodplain (What’s in your floodplain? What data do you have?)
STEP 2: Identifying and Mapping Your Hazards (Which hazards threaten your community? Where?)
STEP 3: Identifying Assessment Areas (Which types of areas are at risk from which types of flooding?)
STEP 4: Analyzing Your Assessment Areas (What’s in these specific areas?)
STEP 5: Overview and Next Steps (Given all of this, how might your reduce your exposure?)

At the end of each step (except Step 3, which you’ll complete with paper maps or in your GIS system) is an “Email me my answers and move on to next step” button. Once you click on that, your answers will be sent to the email address you provided when you registered. Please note:

  • Some steps have multiple pages. Your answers will not be sent until you complete the entire step.
  • Once you click on the “Email me my answers and move on to next step” button, it will not be possible to go back and edit your previously entered answers (if you go back to competed steps, you’ll find a blank form). You may either reenter your information for the entire step, or you may make edits to the emails you were sent for your records.
  • The emails sent by the site will be your only records from the CRS Community Self Assessment. FEMA will not be processing your answers. Please keep your answers somewhere safe.

Recommended Materials to Have on Hand

In order to make the best use of your efforts, we recommend that you take time now to gather a few things that will help you answer the questions in the CRS Community Self Assessment. We will be asking you about the nature of your community’s floodplain, population, economic and growth factors, and the history of many types of flooding. You’ll be creating a map showing all your hazards, either on paper or on your computer (but not on this website).

Here is a list of documents you may find useful:

  • A map of your community – This could be a large printed map, if your community is relatively small, or you may want to complete the assessment with the assistance of your community’s GIS specialist. Not only will the map help you visualize the different areas within your community, but there are activities in the assessment that will be greatly enhanced by marking on the map or creating new GIS layers. If possible, you should also gather maps that illustrate details about your community’s
    • Current land use and zoning
    • Areas likely to experience development or redevelopment
    • Past flooded or stormwater problem areas
    • Repetitive loss properties/areas
    • Areas designated for economic development
    • Wetlands
    • Information on any known endangered species
    • Other natural hazards
  • Your Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), a paper or digital copy, and the accompanying Flood Insurance Study (FIS)
  • Your Hazard Mitigation Plan
  • Records of high water marks for past floods
  • A list of critical or essential facilities
  • A list of major employers (industrial or commercial areas)
  • A list of industrial areas
  • A list of major commercial/shopping areas
  • Building counts
  • Photos, news articles, or other data on past floods

This information may be readily available to you, or you may need to do a little research, including talking to other staff members, community officials, or residents with historical knowledge of the area (you may even wish to gather a subset of these people together to work on this collectively). Other sources of helpful information include historical societies, libraries, economic development councils or commissions, councils of government, the Red Cross, fraternal organizations, schools or universities, real estate and insurance agents, and first responders.

Gathered the materials/people you need? Ready to get going?

Create an Accountor if you’ve already done that  Get Started with Step 1 →