HIGHLANDS, NJ -  The Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management is announcing the dates of the Northern Monmouth County Flood Risk Open House, hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region II. During the open house, which will be held on Feb. 20, 2015, from 4pm to 8pm at Henry Hudson Regional High School, updates to the flood hazard maps, known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), for Monmouth County will be discussed. These updates were preliminarily issued to Monmouth County and incorporated areas on January 31st, 2014. The FIRMs identify areas that have flood risk in Monmouth County. Insurance companies use FIRMs to determine flood insurance rates for buildings and their contents, and lenders utilize this information to determine flood insurance requirements. Monmouth County residents and property owners are encouraged to learn more about their flood risk and the updates shown on the preliminary flood hazard maps by looking up their property’s address in the “What’s my BFE” tool at www.region2coastal.com.

FEMA, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Monmouth County OEM will be available to answer flood risk and insurance questions, and explain the preliminary flood hazard maps during the open house. The location for the open house is Henry Hudson Regional High School Cafetorium, 1 Grand Tour, Highlands. Please come anytime between the hours of 4PM - 8PM. No appointment is required.

Residents are encouraged to bring their elevation certificates and/or flood insurance policies to the event to find out how they may be affected by the new flood maps.

Information on disaster-related recovery efforts and outstanding insurance claims will not be discussed at the event.

It’s important to attend this event if your property is currently mapped within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), newly mapped into an SFHA, and/or if you currently have flood insurance. If you are unsure of your flood risk, please refer to the Preliminary FIRMs which are available on the FEMA Map Service Center website, https://msc.fema.gov/portal, or call the FEMA Map Information exchange (FMIX) at 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627) or your local flood plain administrator or building official.

If you are in a high-risk flood zone, known as the SFHA, you may be required by your lender to carry flood insurance. FEMA staff will be available at the Open House to talk about these changes.

The preliminary flood hazard maps that will be shared at the Open House are an update of the existing FIRMs. These preliminary FIRMs and the associated Flood Insurance Study (FIS) provide the basis for flood risk education and floodplain management measures. Monmouth County communities are required to adopt updated maps to continue participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which makes flood insurance available to the community.

For additional information on flood hazard risk and the mapping process, please visit www.region2coastal.com.