How to use this tool kit.

The items in this toolkit will give you many of the "raw materials" needed to begin communicating with a variety of different audiences about flood map changes in your area. However, the following tips will help ensure that your overall approach to community outreach is right on target. Keeping these tips in mind while using the toolkit materials will help make the rollout of new maps in your area a smooth — and successful — process.

Start early — these things take time.
Outreach should begin at least 12 months prior to the release of preliminary flood maps to allow you ample time to:

  • Create, test and refine messages;
  • Develop partnerships and organizational alliances;
  • Identify and address key issues and obstacles;
  • Secure the broad-based support needed prior to a public announcement.

The media will tell the tale — engage them.
Local and regional media outlets will have an interest in this issue and will want to know how map changes will impact the average citizen. You can influence whether they applaud, or critique, the way the process is handled by taking proactive measures before the maps are released like:

  • Providing advance access to information about the mapping process;
  • Holding media pre-briefings;
  • Making presentations to newspaper editorial boards.

Representatives from affected industries can carry your message forward — tap their input and influence.
Representatives of the insurance, real estate, lending and building industries will all be impacted by the changes that new maps bring and are familiar with what messages will resonate with their colleagues. To ensure that they disseminate information to their colleagues and customers:

  • Keep them updated about key developments in the adoption process;
  • Get their feedback on materials;
  • Refine materials — and communication strategies — based on feedback.

Key decision makers make key decisions — make sure they're on board.
Local elected officials and county board members will ultimately be responsible for adopting ordinances that will make new flood maps official and effective. Help them communicate key map change messages and foster a better understanding of options available to residents by:

  • Ensuring officials have a clear understanding of the map adoption process;
  • Encouraging officials to recognize new maps as a positive step toward increased public safety.