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Definitions of FEMA Flood Zone Designation

Definitions of FEMA Flood Zone Designations
Flood zones are geographic areas that the FEMA has defined according to varying levels of flood risk.  These zones are depicted on a community’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Hazard Boundary Map. Each zone reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.

Moderate to Low Risk Areas
In communities that participate in the NFIP, flood insurance is available to all property owners and renters in these zones:

B and X (shaded) Area of moderate flood hazard, usually the area between the limits of the 100‐
year and 500‐year floods. B Zones are also used to designate base floodplains of
lesser hazards, such as areas protected by levees from 100‐year flood, or shallow
flooding areas with average depths of less than one foot or drainage areas less
than 1 square mile.

C and X (unshaded)
Area of minimal flood hazard, usually depicted on FIRMs as above the 500‐year
flood level. Zone C may have ponding and local drainage problems that don’t
warrant a detailed study or designation as base floodplain. Zone X is the area
determined to be outside the 500‐year flood and protected by levee from 100‐
year flood.

High Risk Areas
In communities that participate in the NFIP, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply to all of these zones:

A – Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding and a 26% chance of flooding over the life of
a 30‐year mortgage. Because detailed analyses are not performed for such areas; no
depths or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.
AE –  The base floodplain where base flood elevations are provided. AE Zones are now used
on new format FIRMs instead of A1‐A30 Zones.
A1‐30  – These are known as numbered A Zones (e.g., A7 or A14). This is the base floodplain
where the FIRM shows a BFE (old format).
AH  – Areas with a 1% annual chance of shallow flooding, usually in the form of a pond, with
an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 feet. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding
over the life of a 30‐year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed
analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.
AO  – River or stream flood hazard areas, and areas with a 1% or greater chance of shallow
flooding each year, usually in the form of sheet flow, with an average depth ranging
from 1 to 3 feet. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30‐year
mortgage. Average flood depths derived from detailed analyses are shown within these
AR  – Areas with a temporarily increased flood risk due to the building or restoration of a
flood control system (such as a levee or a dam). Mandatory flood insurance purchase
requirements will apply, but rates will not exceed the rates for unnumbered A zones if
the structure is built or restored in compliance with Zone AR floodplain management
A99  – Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding that will be protected by a Federal flood
control system where construction has reached specified legal requirements. No depths
or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.

High Risk Coastal Areas
In communities that participate in the NFIP, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply to all of these zones.

V – Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard
associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of
a 30‐year mortgage. No base flood elevations are shown within these zones.
VE, V1 ‐ 30 – Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard
associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of
a 30‐year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at
selected intervals within these zones.

Undetermined Risk Areas
D – Areas with possible but undetermined flood hazards. No flood hazard analysis has been
conducted. Flood insurance rates are commensurate with the uncertainty of the flood

From FEMA Map Service Center:

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Woodburning Stove Safety Tips

A woodburning stove can be a source of pleasure and a way to reduce the ever-increasing cost of home heating.
Many homeowners have installed woodburning stoves so as to enjoy these benefits. There is also possible harm
that an unsafe unit can do to the home and family that use this type of stove. The facts and information supplied
here can help families enjoy the benefits of a woodburning stove, while avoiding any fire damage to their home
or any injury to their family.

Did you know that:
? Fire – which has been called “the most frightening killer” – is responsible for the loss of over 12,000 lives
and for 300,000 injuries per year?
? The United States proportionate to other countries leads the world in deaths and property losses from fire?
? The great majority of persons killed by fire die in residential fires?
? The economic loss from home fires is almost $11.5 billion per year?
? Woodburning units are rapidly becoming a major cause of home fires in America today?
? The main reasons for fires resulting from woodburning stoves are poorly constructed units, improper
installation or improper usage?
? You jeopardize your insurance coverage if you have a woodburning stove that is unsafe?

Before selecting a stove
1. Consider the room size, ventilation needed, chimney placement.
2. After considering all the requirements, decide whether it is PRACTICAL and SAFE to install a
woodburning stove.

If you decide to buy
1. Choose a stove of heavy cast iron or heavy gauge steel.
2. Inspect for cracks, defects, possible weak seams, or welds.
3. Look for the Underwriters’ Laboratories label on each stove.
4. Ask to see the instructions for installation and operation of the stove.
5. Ask the dealer about a warranty and anticipated life span of the stove.
6. Ask if there are any special maintenance requirements for the stove.

? Avoid using softwood. (Greenwood has high moisture content and can cause creosote build up.)
? Do not use artificial logs that contain coal oil, paraffin or other flammable liquids.
? Use hardwood. (Red oak, sugar maple, apple and ironwood have the best heat value.)
? Cut wood early and allow one year, or at least six months to season (split wood for faster drying).
? Check fire often, use damper and draft controls to prevent overfiring or incomplete burning and smoking.
? Do not overfire because it may lead to overheating and cause a chimney fire.
? Place hot ashes in substantial metal container with lid and remove to a safe location outside of the home.

Chimney Fires
1. Overfired stove for extended period of time.
2. Ignition of soot, tar and creosote build up.
1. Clean the chimney semi-annually.
2. Check fire often and avoid overfiring stove.
3. Burn only seasoned wood and avoid using softwood.
4. Fires should not be left unattended.
5. Avoid smoldering fires as this increases creosote build up.

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Swimming Pool Safety Barriers

Every year thousands of American families confront swimming pool tragedies – drownings and near-drownings
of young children. These tragedies are preventable. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
offers guidelines for pool barriers that can help prevent most submersion incidents involving young children.

Inground Pools
A young child can get over a pool barrier if the barrier is too low or if the barrier has handholds or footholds for a child to use when climbing.
? The top of a pool barrier should be at least 48 inches above grade, measured on the side of
the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool.

For a Solid Barrier:
? No indentations or protrusions should be present, other than normal construction
tolerances and masonry joints.

For a Barrier (Fence) Made Up of Horizontal and Vertical Members:
? If the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is less than 45 inches, the horizontal members should be
on the swimming pool side of the fence.
? The spacing of the vertical members should not exceed 1 – ¾ inches. (This size is based on the foot width of a
young child and is intended to reduce the potential for a child to gain a foothold.)
? If there are any decorative cutouts in the fence, the space within the cutouts should not exceed 1 – ¾ inches.

Aboveground Pools
Aboveground pools should have barriers.
? The pool structure itself serves as a barrier or a barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure.
? The steps or ladder can be designed to be secured, locked or removed to prevent access, or a
barrier such as those described above can surround the steps or ladder.

When the House Wall Forms Part of the Pool Barrier
In many homes, doors open directly onto the pool area or onto a patio that leads to the pool area.
? In such cases, the wall of the house is an important part of the pool barrier, and passage through
any doors in the house wall should be controlled by security measures.
? All doors that give access to a swimming pool, should be equipped with an audible alarm, which
sounds when the door and/or screen are opened.
? The alarm should sound for 30 seconds or more immediately after the door is opened.
? The alarm should be loud (at least 85 dBA (decibels) when measured 10 feet away from the alarm mechanism).
? The alarm should be distinct from other sounds in the house.
? The alarm should have an automatic reset feature.
? The alarm should have a switch that allows adults to temporarily deactivate the alarm for up to 15 seconds to allow them to pass through house doors without setting off the alarm.
? The deactivation switch could be a touchpad or manual switch and should be located at least 54 inches above the threshold of the door covered by the alarm.

Indoor Pools
When a pool is located completely within a house, the walls that surround the pool should be equipped to serve as pool safety barriers. Measures recommended above where a house wall serves as part of a safety barrier also apply for all the walls surrounding an indoor pool.

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Smoke Detectors Can Save Your Life

Most home fire deaths happen between 10 o’clock at night and 6 in the morning. Many victims die because of smoke and toxic gases, not the fire itself. Smoke detectors can wake you and give you time to escape. When purchasing a smoke alarm, look for one that is accepted by an independent testing facility, such as Underwriters Laboratories or Factory Mutual.

The best place for your smoke alarms:
? On every level of your home, including the basement and workshop
? Outside every bedroom
? On the ceiling or 6 to 12 inches below the ceiling on the wall. Keep them away from air vents.

Test the alarm batteries once a month.
? Press the test button with your finger.
? Replace the batteries once a year.

Clean the alarm following the manufacturer’s instructions.
? Vacuum the grillwork on the detector periodically to keep it dust-free.

Preventing Nuisance Alarms:
Move the alarm away from the kitchen or bathroom.
? Get a different type of smoke alarm, like a photoelectric that’s less sensitive to
common causes of false alarms.
? Choose a smoke alarm that has a silencing feature, so nuisance alarms can be
stopped quickly and easily.

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Kitchen Safety Tips

Did you know?
One-fifth of all home fires in the United States start in the kitchen? The reason is due to the constant potential
for fire there. For instance, if you cook two meals a day, each day of the year, that’s actually 730 fires!
Controlled, we hope, but none-the-less, potential fire hazards! Let’s help you make sure that the fire department
doesn’t become surprise dinner guests!

Never use water!
The most frequent kitchen fire involves oil or grease that ignites during meal preparation. Care should be taken
to prevent grease build-up in the stove or range hood. Water should never be used on such fires, as it will cause
the burning liquid to spatter, spreading the fire. Have a lid for every pan or skillet that is in use. Put out fires by
using the lids to shut off the oxygen to the fire. Trying to carry a burning pan outdoors or to the sink often
results in spilling the liquid, which causes burn injuries and also permits fires to spread. Remember, put a lid on

Do not wear loose clothing!
While cooking, don’t wear loose clothing, and be very careful not to reach across a burner at any time.
Garments with long, draping sleeves or light-weight sheer materials can catch fire by simply brushing against a
hot burner.

Be careful removing any pans from the stove!
Always use a hot pad. In households with small children, handles of pots and pans should be turned in so a child
cannot reach them and receive a serious scald burn.

Keep the stove clear!
Whether cooking with gas or electric, never place anything on the stove you don’t want to heat. An electric coil
reaches 800 degrees while a gas flame goes over 1000 degrees. Remember dish towels & pot holders ignite at
400 degrees.

Supervise the very young and elderly. Teach the children not to play around the stove, and never leave a stove
that is unattended! Also, keep a fully charged, approved fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen, and know how to
use it!

Kitchen Fire Safety Overview
? Never cook on high when using oils
? Do not wear loose clothing while cooking
? Keep all handles in while cooking
? No playing in the kitchen
? Keep stove top clear of all flammable items
? Always cover pan fire with lid; never use water
? Keep fire extinguisher close by while cooking
? Never carry a burning pan to sink or outside
? Put a lid on fires!

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Home Playground Safety Tips

Each year, more than 200,000 children go to U.S. hospital emergency rooms with injuries associated
with playground equipment. Most injuries occur when a child falls from the equipment onto the
ground. Many backyard playsets are placed on dirt or grass—surfaces that do not adequately protect
children when they fall.

Home Playground Safety Checklist
Use this simple checklist to help make sure your home playground is a safe place to play.
1. Install and maintain a shock-absorbing surface around the play equipment. Use at least 9 inches
of wood chips, mulch, or shredded rubber for play equipment up to 7 feet high. If sand or pea
gravel is used, install at least a 9-inch layer for play equipment up to 5 feet high. Or use
surfacing mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials.
2. Install protective surfacing at least 6 feet in all directions from
play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back
and front, twice the height of the suspending bar.
3. Never attach-or allow children to attach ropes, jump ropes,
clotheslines, or pet leashes to play equipment; children can
strangle on these.
4. Check for hardware, like open “S” hooks or protruding bolt ends, which can be hazardous.
5. Check for spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder
rungs; these spaces should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
6. Make sure platforms and ramps have guardrails to prevent falls.
7. Check for sharp points or edges in equipment.
8. Remove tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
9. Regularly check play equipment and surfacing to make sure both are in good condition.
10. Carefully supervise children on play equipment to make sure they are safe.

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