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R6 Risk Analysis - Mapping and Planning - Helping Communities Know Their Natural Hazard Risk

This page provide information on the Region VI Risk Analysis Branch, programs, and links to additional risk awareness resources.

Risk Analysis in Region 6

The Risk Analysis Branch strives to create more resilient communities through identifying, assessing, planning for and communicating about the natural hazard risks in our Region.  Through engineering analysis, hazard mitigation planning and technical assistance, targeted risk communications, and advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Risk Analysis works with communities to understand the potential impact of natural hazard events and to develop strategies to manage or reduce the risks associated with these hazards. 

Through FEMA’s multi-year, mitigation based, Risk Mapping, Assessing and Planning (Risk MAP) process, Region VI works with states, tribal, and local entities to deliver quality data that increases public awareness and leads to mitigation actions that reduce risk to life and property. This process of identifying, assessing, mapping,  planning for, and communicating the risk is the framework for federal and local governments to reduce the negative impacts from future disasters on lives, property, and the economy.  To assist with mitigation planning, FEMA works with the State Hazard Mitigation Officer (SHMO) and Tribal Nations to offer a variety of guidance and training.

Know your risk - visit our Region 6 Risk MAP site for more on the process.

The following program areas are within the Risk Analysis Branch in Region VI:  Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP), Cooperative Technical Partners (CTP) Program, National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)- Flood Hazard Mapping, National Dam Safety Program (NDSP), Natural Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NDHRP) and HAZUS-MH

Risk Analysis includes assessing critical information both before and after a disaster strikes. The Hazard Performance and Analysis (HPA) group provides engineering, economic and scientific analysis in support of hazard mitigation programs, and ensures that technical hazard mitigation information is available to all local, State, and Federal recovery partners.

Has Your Flood Risk Changed?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides tools for communities to better understand the natural hazard risks they face.  Have new maps identified new flood risks to your home? Is there a new Flood Insurance Rate Map for your area?    Residents of FEMA Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas) can locate their property and determine if they are affected by the map changes through the Region 6 Flood Information portal. FEMA’s Flood Information Portal is a tool designed to allow fast, convenient access to flood risk data within those areas affected by a flood map update.

Screenshot of the Changes Since Last FIRM on

Areas of changed flood risk are easy to identify through the website!  Information for areas within the Portal’s dataset can be found through address search, by panel identification, and by standard map navigation methods. Both effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and newly issued preliminary DFIRM layers are made available within the Portal. The default map view starts with a Change Layer that represents the difference between the effective FIRM and Preliminary DFIRM maps in areas of Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) increase or decrease. The user also has the option of generating a summary report for any point of interest which is provided in a standard format for printing.

How can I look at the flood risk in my vicinity?

FEMA has launched an interactive web tool accessible on-line at RiskMAP6 that allows residents and business owners in our community to look up the flood risk in their vicinity in a few easy steps.

  1. From the Region 6 Flood Risk Information Portal, select your State and County from the pull down menus available.  Click “Go” to launch the tool.
  2. A new window will allow you access to the interactive web tool in your vicinity.  A disclaimer will appear at the center of the new window noting that the information shown on the site is not an official FIRM, but that the tool is intended for informational purposes only.  Click “I Agree” to access the tool.
  3. Home and business owners can review the flood risk in their vicinity by entering their home/business address in the Enter Address box. Once you have entered your address, click “Search”.
  4. The mapping tool will add a red star to indicate your property location and center your property in the window.  The default layer that all users will see is the Change Layer.  Users can review other informational datasets through the tool by clicking on the available layers on the left hand side of the window. 
  5. To prepare a property specific report click the identify icon in the interactive tool bar.  If you cannot locate your property with the tool, you may add a location identifier and then click on top of it with the identify tool for a detailed report.
  6. Once you click the identify tool, then click on the red star in the vicinity of your property. Click “View Detailed Property Report” to print a property specific report.

Three ways to look up your property are available.  For ideal viewing, select layers within one map layer group at a time – Change layer, Preliminary DFIRM, or Effective FIRM. Complete the Search by Address form. For best results, include the full street address of your residence. When searching for road intersections, include at a minimum city and state information. Once the form is filled, click on the ‘Search’ button to proceed.

If you know the map panel of your area, you can also search using the ‘FIRM Panel #’ form.

Navigation tools in the toolbar can also be used to locate the area of interest. After locating your area of interest, click on the ‘Identify Feature Property’ to mark the area view the flood information from this area. A detailed flood report of the identified area can be generated from this window.

The map ‘legend’ is found on the right side of the mapping portal page and a ‘help document’ is available in the navigation toolbar.

Now that you know your risk, what do you do next?  Has anything changed?

First review your property specific report to determine if the flood risk in your vicinty has changed.  If your report indicates a change in flood risk, you may want to figure out how you may be affected.

  • Local building and permitting varies by community, this information on the property report will allow you to meet with your local building and permitting authority to discuss your individual property building requirements.
  • Consider elevating your home’s lowest floor above the Base Flood Elevation if you are looking for ways to reduce your flood risk.  Elevating your structure is a good way to reduce your risk of flooding even if your property is not currently subject to flooding.
  • Elevating your home above the Base Flood Elevation or preliminary Base Flood Elevation (whichever is higher) will also provide a future reduction in the flood insurance premiums.  You can elevate your HVAC and other utilities above the BFE to reduce your financial risk.
  • Consider relocating your structure (if possible) to minimize the hazards your home or business may encounter.    
  • Flood risk changes over time. Reduce future risk by building to a higher standard and using construction practices that have been shown to reduce flood risk for business and home owners.
  • Measure the potential damage your home could incur with an interactive online tool available at FloodSmart.
  • Contact your insurance agent to determine the best flood insurance policy to insure your risk

Knowing where and when map changes are occurring will help you understand which insurance options will best apply. Flooding can happen anywhere, but certain areas are especially prone to serious flooding. The FIRMs are a tool used by communities to help you understand your flood risk so you can make informed decisions about financially protecting your property.

Communicating Risk at the Local Level:  the Risk Communications Guidebook for Local Officials

Risk communication, specifically local education and outreach efforts, promote a community prepared for the natural hazards affecting it. Residents and business owners look to their local officials to communicate individual and community actions to reduce hazard risks and promote future resilience and sustainability of communities.

FEMA Region 6 makes available a Risk Communications Guidebook for Local Officials.  The Guidebook identifies opportunities for a continual discussion of natural hazard risks and is presented in sections that mimic the Risk MAP process. 

Daily interaction with community residents provides opportunities for local officials and their staff to communicate about natural hazard risk. The Guidebook is designed to assist your risk communication efforts with key messages, communication toolkits, and customizable templates. Stakeholders may find some of these products useful when discussing changes in risk with clients.

We trust you will find this Guidebook a valuable resource and will make use of it as your community invests in more sustainable and resilient practices.  The Guidebook is maintained electronically, as this allows it to be easily updated and adapted as needed. Please visit RiskMAP6 for the latest version.

Risk Communications Guidebook for Local Officials
Risk Communications Guidebook for Local Officials available on

Policy and Guidance for Local Officials

R6 Mitigation Contacts - to speak with a FEMA Mitigation Specialist

Last Updated: 
02/21/2017 - 14:51