...describing each mitigation program with an emphasis on identifying the types of projects that would meet FEMA eligibility parameters. In this issue, our goal is to demonstrate the value of the mitigation programs for communities nationwide, while outlining the planning requirements imposed by FEMA.
Additionally, we present mitigation best practices, which can be utilized at a community level to lessen the impact of future disasters and hopefully demonstrate that investments made in mitigation measures are an affordable, effective and prudent investment of public funds. These grants can create opportunities for a safer, more resilient community when future disasters occur.
To access mitigation grant funding, a community needs to have an approved Mitigation Action Plan. The planning process for the MAP is as important as the plan itself. It creates a framework for risk-based assessments and actions which can reduce losses of life, property and to the economy in general resulting from future disasters.
The process by which the plan is developed will determine its overall effectiveness. The plan will be the jurisdiction’s blueprint for reducing potential losses, identified in a comprehensive risk assessment of facilities and of existing policies, programs and resources. The process can be enhanced by the community’s ability to use and expand on existing tools (i.e., enhanced zoning, land use regulations and building codes).
To ensure a more comprehensive approach, the planning process should: provide opportunities for public comment during the drafting stage, engage neighboring communities in planning activities, and review and incorporate all studies, plans and technical data available.
A thorough risk assessment will provide critical information that will enable a jurisdiction to identify and prioritize appropriate mitigation actions which can reduce losses from identified hazards.