What is Hazard Mitigation?

What is Hazard Mitigation?
The term "hazard mitigation" describes actions that can help reduce or eliminate long-term risks caused by hazards, or disasters, such as floods, hurricanes, wildfires, landslides, tornadoes, earthquakes, or dam failures.  As the costs of disasters continue to rise, governments and citizens must find ways to reduce hazard risks to communities.  Efforts made to reduce hazard risks should be compatible with other community goals; safer communities are more attractive to employers as well as residents.  As communities plan for new development and improvements to existing infrastructure, mitigation can and should be an important component of the planning effort. While mitigation activities can and should be taken before a disaster occurs, hazard mitigation is essential .  Often after disasters, repairs and reconstruction are completed in such a way as to simply restore damaged property to pre-disaster conditions. The implementation of such hazard mitigation actions leads to building stronger, safer, and smarter communities that are better able to reduce future injuries and damage.

What Are the Benefits of a Hazard Mitigation Plan?
Effective hazard mitigation planning can provide the following benefits:
  • Reduces the loss of life, property, essential services, critical facilities and economic hardship
  • Reduces short-term and long-term recovery and reconstruction costs
  • Increases cooperation and communication within the community through the planning process
  • Increases potential for state and federal funding for recovery and reconstruction projects
What are Types of Hazard Mitigation?
  • Local Plans and Regulations (LPR) – These actions include government authorities, policies or codes that influence the way land and buildings are being developed and built.
  • Structure and Infrastructure Project (SIP) - Actions involve modifying existing structures and infrastructure (public and private) to protect them from a hazard or remove them from a hazard area as well as "hardening" facilities to withstand hazards.
  • Natural Systems Protection (NSP) – These are actions that minimize damage and losses, and also preserve or restore the functions of natural systems.
  • Education and Awareness Programs (EAP) – Information and education to  citizens, elected officials, and property owners about hazards in their community and potential ways to mitigate them.
What are Examples of Hazard Mitigation?
  • Purchasing property in floodplain areas to prevent future development
  • Adding security cameras, fencing or other features to critical infrastructure to deter and prevent criminal activity
  • Removing trees and other debris from creeks, streams and drainage systems
  • Installing back up power systems at critical infrastructure
  • Development of emergency warning systems