The Hazard Mitigation Group's mission is to reduce the risk to people and property from natural and human-caused hazards.
As you know, natural disasters are inevitable, and we have seen how coping with the disasters are emotionally and financially overwhelming and many times completely devastating. The good news is while no one can prevent disasters from occurring, the devastating and costly effects can be reduced and/or eliminated by “hazard mitigation.” Effective hazard mitigation means protecting one’s community before it is damaged rather than waiting to respond and rebuild it afterwards.
Floods, wildfires, winter storms and other disasters injure and displace people every year. Disaster damage to public buildings, private property and community infrastructure absorb millions of taxpayer dollars.
While working towards reducing your community’s risks from future disaster damage is both challenging and rewarding, the benefits are long lasting. The first step towards building a safer community is to understand the hazards, vulnerabilities and risks your community faces. Determining the best approach to mitigating potential problems requires planning and action on a community-wide level. These invaluable efforts will not only prevent losses if a disaster strikes, but aid in the recovery and rebuilding process.
Mitigation is one of the four phases of a comprehensive emergency management program to go along with Preparedness, Response and Recovery.
Effective mitigation strategies include:
Retrofitting -- Design a structure, or modify an existing one, to make it more resistant to disaster damage. Examples include elevating flood prone structures, anchoring water heaters, bookcases and file cabinets in earthquake areas, and securing roofs in the event of high winds.
Acquisition and Relocations -- In some areas, homes which are frequently damaged by floods, can be purchased and homeowners are relocated out of the floodplain. Structures can then be removed and the land turned into open space, such as a park.
Building Codes and Regulations -- Modify or adopt building codes and regulations to reduce property loss. This is a technique often used in earthquake and high wind prone areas. Upgrading codes or changing building designs dramatically improve the chance of a building surviving disaster damage.
Creating Defensible Spaces -- Effective ways to protect a structure from wildfires include maintaining brush control, creating fuel breaks in shrubbery, and planting fire-resistant vegetation.
Public Awareness -- Inform your community about potential mitigation opportunities. Education, awareness and training will help people understand their personal responsibility for making their community safer.
Public-Private Partnerships -- Establish a community-wide partnership composed of local officials, business professionals, utility companies, charitable organization representatives, and other community stakeholders with a shared interest in and obligation to protecting the safety and economic stability of the community.
Within the Mitigation portion of ADEM’s web site, you’ll find valuable information including a comprehensive list of mitigation actions that can help make your community safer.
For additional information regarding Hazard Mitigation, please contact us for your area of interest.