200 Procedures
400 Mapping and Regulations

200
Procedures

The Community Rating System (CRS) combines yearly recertification with cycle visits. This series details CRS procedures and explains the verification process.

Verification

As a rule of thumb, you should send a CRS application request if you think you have at least 500 credits within the program and meet the Class 9 requirements (see "Prerequisites" below). When applying, send a letter of intent to the FEMA Regional Office, and provide documentation showing that your community qualifies for Class 9 status. It takes about a year to receive a CRS classification.

CRS Coordinators are the linchpins of the Community Rating System (CRS). Generally, the Community Rating System (CRS) process is administered through CRS Coordinators, ISO Specialists, and FEMA Regional Offices:

  • After FEMA approves a Community Rating System (CRS) application, the CRS Specialist will schedule a visit with your community, where they will collect a number of documents including:

    • Certifications and Checklists
    • Digital Documentation
    • Ordinances
    • State-based Credit
    • Maps

Documentation requirements differ depending on element. This guide will break these down in detail further on. In general, CRS communities keep their class rating for 3 to 5 years. The time between CRS Specialist visits vary, depending on your specific circumstances. You'll have to check with your Specialist to determine how your cycle reviews will be scheduled.

During verification visits, the CRS Specialist will review documents, make field checks, and discuss the results with you. After visits, the CRS Specialist will total some activities, send some activities to technical reviewers, and then send the compiled information to FEMA. After receiving an initial CRS Classification, communities must be recertified every year.

Credits Calculations

Community Rating System (CRS) activities are broken down into four tiers:

  • Series: There are 4 Series for which you can get credit (300-600). Each Series encompasses a broad theme (like "Mapping"). Within each Series are a number of Activities.
  • Activity: There are 3 to 7 activities in each series. They are each assigned a title (but no acronym or number). They are further broken down into Elements.
  • Element: There are 1 or more elements in each activity, and they each have an acronym. This is typically the most specific CRS tier.
  • Subelements and variables: Rarely, elements have additional related pieces, these have numbers or letters added to the acronym and are called subelements or variables.

There are 5 steps to calculating your community’s CRS credit:

  1. Element Credits

    1. Each activity and element has associated credits, these are counted first. This CRS Guide will detail these credit calculations.
  2. Impact Adjustment

    1. The total credits in many elements are adjusted in a few ways after counting. There are two main ratios used for impact adjustment:

      1. The number of buildings impacted by the activity compared to the number of buildings in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) or
      2. The area of the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) impacted compared to the total area of the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).
  3. Credit Calculation

    1. The third step to calculating credits is to multiply element credits by the impact adjustment. These impact adjusted element credits are totaled to get a total activity score
  4. County Growth Adjustment

    1. In the 400 Series, Mapping and Regulations, credits go through another adjustment: county growth rate. Depending on how quickly your conis r
  5. Community Classification

    1. The last step in the calculation process is determining CRS classification. CRS Classification is determined based on total credits.

Prerequisites

In order to achieve certain CRS classes, your community must meet specific criteria:

Class Prerequisites
9 Compliance with the minimum NFIP requirements, credit for Activity 310; compliance with repetitive loss criteria if your community is a repetitive loss community
6 All Class 9 requirements; at least a 5/5 classification under the Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS) (see 432.h for more info.)
4 All Class 6 requirements; at least a 4/4 BCEGS classification; at least 700 combined credits under Activity 430, 422.a, 422.e, and 422.f; at least 90 points for WMP1 under 452.b; at least 30 points for WMP2 under 452.b; an impact adjustment value of rWMP = 0.5 or more under 452.b; at least 50% of the maximum credits under Activity 510; at least 100 total credits from a combination of the following natural floodplain functions elements: 422.c, 422.h, DL1 of 432.a, AMD1 of 442.a, Activity 450, and 512.c; credit for Activity 610; credit for Activity 630
1 All Class 4 requirements, a successful Community Assistance Visit within the last 12 months; at least 50% of the buildings in your community's SFHA covered by an insurance policy OR at least 50% of the credits allowable under Activity 370; a total of 150 credits or more under OS1 of 422.e and DL in 451.a; credit for 432.f; credit for 410; credit for 430; an impact adjustment of rWMP=0.75 or more for Activity 450; credit for HSS in 412.d; credit for 432.k; credit for 432.n; at least 25% of properties on your repetitive loss list protected; a multi-hazard mitigation plan under Activity 510; at least 150 points from a combination of the natural floodplain functions elements listed in the Class 4 prerequisites; credit for Activity 630

This CRS guide was produced by CRS professionals and Certified Floodplain Managers to help you navigate the Community Rating System. It is not meant to replace FEMA's official CRS Coordinator's Manual, nor should it supersede the instructions given by your ISO/CRS Specialist.

For additional resources, visit https://crsresources.org/ .