What is Hazard Mitigation Planning?

The term Hazard Mitigation describes actions that communities can take to help reduce or eliminate long-term risks caused by natural disasters.  Natural Hazards in any jurisdiction can include flooding, wildfire, landslides, earthquake, and drought.  During the planning process, prioritization will be given to the hazards within the jurisdiction that are most likely to occur.

Hazard mitigation planning and projects can create safer jurisdictions by reducing loss of life and property damage associated with future disasters.  Each dollar spent on mitigation can save the jurisdiction an average of four dollars!

As we plan for new development and improvements to existing infrastructure, mitigation can and should be an important component of the planning effort. That extra resiliency will help citizens bounce back from that worst case flood, fire or storm more quickly.

Mitigation activities can be developed before a disaster occurs, however after a disaster, hazard mitigation assessment and planning is an essential activity to prevent disaster amnesia. Oftentimes after disasters, repairs and reconstruction are completed in such a way as to simply restore damaged property to pre-disaster conditions.  These efforts may “get things back the norm”, but the replication of pre-disaster conditions may result in a repetitive cycle of damage and reconstruction.  Hazard mitigation planning in any jurisdiction can break this repetitive cycle by producing less vulnerable conditions through post-disaster repairs and disaster-smart reconstruction.