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Mitigation Planning

March 2, 2010

Natural and manmade hazards present risks throughout the United States.  Rain and snow bring threats of flooding and utility failure.  At any time, we may need to respond to the impacts of fire or tornado, riot or radiation.  Our local units of government, first responders and emergency managers know how to effectively respond to hazards as they occur.  We can also protect our communities by planning for hazard mitigation before disaster strikes.

What is Hazard Mitigation Planning?  According to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) State and Local Mitigation Planning Fact Sheet:

Hazard mitigation planning is the process State, local, and tribal governments use to identify risks and vulnerabilities associated with natural disasters, and to develop long-term strategies for protecting people and property in future hazard events. The process results in a mitigation plan that offers a strategy for breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage, and a framework for developing feasible and cost-effective mitigation projects. Under the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-390), State, local and tribal governments are required to develop a hazard mitigation plan as a condition for receiving certain types of non-emergency disaster assistance.

The 2008 Minnesota All-Hazard Mitigation Plan (MAHMP) offers this definition:  “Hazard mitigation is any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural or human caused hazards and their effects.”

James Schwab, AICP, is even more direct in Planning Magazine:  “Hazard mitigation essentially is the art and science of reducing risks of future losses.”

Emergency management involves a cycle through which communities prepare, respond and recover from emergencies and disasters.  Hazard mitigation is also part of this cycle and serves two primary purposes—to protect people and property, and to limit the costs of disaster response and recovery.

These are the themes we’ll be exploring on this blog.

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