Community Rating System (CRS) and National Flood Insurance Program

Page updated on Jul 30, 2021 at 11:24 AM
Community Rating System & National Flood Insurance Program

 City Rating 

  • City of Alexandria Recognized for Increased Floodplain Management Practices
    The City of Alexandria is recognized for exceeding the goals of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS), administrated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The CRS is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed minimum NFIP requirements. Previously rated a Class 7, as of October 1, 2013, Alexandria is one of two Virginia localities to achieve a Class 6 rating, the highest in the state. As a result, residents and businesses purchasing flood insurance for properties in Alexandria are now eligible to receive up to a 20% discount on flood insurance premiums. According to NFIP statistics, nationwide, only 305 participating communities currently hold a Class 6 rating or better; as of May 1, 2015, only one out of 1,420 participating communities have achieved a Class 1 rating.  The City is frequently evaluated and scored to ensure continued participation.

Community Rating System (CRS) Introduction 

The National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP's) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes communities for implementing floodplain management practices that exceed the Federal minimum requirements of the NFIP to provide protection from flooding.

In exchange for a community's proactive efforts to reduce flood risk, policyholders can receive reduced flood insurance premiums for buildings in the community. These reduced premiums reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from community efforts toward achieving the three CRS goals: 

·         Reduce flood damage to insurable property 

·         Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP 

·         Encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management 

Alexandria is the first community in the Commonwealth of Virginia which has applied for and been accepted as a Class 6 CRS community, thus entitling its citizens to up to a twenty percent (20%) discount on their flood insurance premiums. Alexandria officially became a Class 6 community on October 1, 2013. 

Updated regulations have changed the City's Community Category for Repetitive Loss. Because the City has less than 50 Repetitive Loss properties, we are now a Category B Repetitive Loss Community. Category B Communities are not required to publish a Repetitive Loss Area Analysis (RLAA) or annual updates to a previous RLAA.

Annual Progress Reports 

Flood Hazard Information 

The following information is directed primarily toward the owners of property located in or adjacent to the 100-year floodplain along the Potomac River and its Alexandria tributaries (Backlick Run, Cameron Run, Four Mile Run, Holmes Run, Hooff's Run, Taylor Run, Timberbranch Run, Strawberry Run and Lucky Run). This information is to inform the public of the flood hazard associated with these drainage ways and to suggest possible actions you can take to protect yourself.

Flood Hazard Areas 

Alexandria's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) was revised June 16, 2011 at an approximate scale of one inch equals 500 feet. It is a map that shows the flood zones and certain streets. The FIRM map may be reviewed at the public library or at room 4130 of City Hall (Transportation & Environmental Service's Construction & Inspection Office.)

Current Flood Hazard Areas are available for viewing in FEMA's GEOPlatform National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) application on their website:

NFHL on FEMA GeoPlatform

The 100-Year Flood Plain 

The 100-year floodplain is the area that will be flooded on the average of once every 100 years. It has a 1% chance of being flooded in any given year. Put another way, it has about a 25% chance of being flooded over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Smaller floods have a greater chance of occurring in any year and can still create a significant flood hazard to people and property close to the channel. (Also, larger floods can and do occur as shown below.)

Old Town Alexandria at high tide on Saturday March 18, 1983


Flood Warnings 

Alexandria has developed a flood warning system for areas in the floodplain. Warnings will be disseminated by the City's Emergency Management Coordinator.  

Property Protection Measures 

There are many ways to protect your house from flooding. Among them are: Elevation, Wet Floodproofing, Relocation, Dry Floodproofing, Levees & Floodwalls, and Demolition. Visit Room 4130 of City Hall to view our References for Floodproofing to see which method is best for you or call the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Publications Center at 1-800-480-2520 and request a copy of their manual entitled Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting.

Flood Safety 

If you are concerned about the flood hazard, there are several precautions you can take to mitigate the flood hazard, including:

  1. Know the flood warning procedures.
  2. Plan escape routes to higher ground.
  3. During times of heavy rainfall, monitor the level of water in your drainage way. Stay tuned to radio or TV for possible flood warnings.
  4. Evacuate the flood hazard area in times of impending flood or when advised to do so by the police, fire, or city emergency personnel.
  5. Do not attempt to cross a flooding stream on foot or by car.
  6. If your car stalls in high water, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground.
  7. Keep children away from flood waters, ditches, culverts and storm drains.
  8. Be especially cautious at night.
  9. Stay away from power lines, electrical wires and be aware of possible gas leaks. (Turn off gas and electricity)

Floodplain Development Permit Requirements 

All development in the floodplain (Not just the construction of buildings) needs a permit. You should contact the Floodplain Administrator first to find out exactly what is required. The telephone number is 703.746.4014. Any illegal floodplain development should be reported to this office as well. Our Code Enforcement office is located in 4200, which has Elevation Certificates of recent construction on file available to the public. The number there is 703.746.4200.

Flood Insurance 

Your homeowner's insurance policy will not cover losses due to flooding. Alexandria participates in the National Flood Insurance Program which makes flood insurance available to everyone in the city. If you live in or adjacent to any of the floodplains earlier mentioned we recommend that you get information about the purchase of flood insurance from your insurance agent. You do not have to live in the floodplain to qualify for flood insurance. Property owners can insure their buildings and contents, renters can insure their possessions.

nfip logo 

Just because your house has not flooded in the recent past, does not mean that you will never be flooded. There is a 30 day waiting period before a flood insurance policy takes effect; so if you believe that you need flood insurance, you should contact your insurance agent as soon as possible.

The Flood Disaster Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 requires the purchase of Flood Insurance by property owners who are being assisted by Federal Programs or by Federally regulated institutions in the acquisition or improvement of land or facilities, or structures located in or to be located within an SFHA (Special Flood Hazard Area).

For more information on the National Flood Insurance Program you can call 1.888.FLOOD29 or TDD# 1.800.427.5593 or visit the FEMA website.


USGS National Water Information System
Real-Time Stream Flow Data

Cameron Run
Four Mile Run
Potomac River at Cameron Street Dock

FEMA National Flood Insurance Program

Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)
Elevation Certificates