The term "Hazard Mitigation" describes actions that can help reduce or eliminate long-term risks caused by natural hazards, or disaster, such as floods, hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes and earthquakes. After disasters, repairs and reconstruction are often completed in such a way as to simply restore damaged property to pre-disaster conditions. These efforts may expedite a return to normalcy, but the replication of pre-disaster conditions often results in a repetitive cycle of damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. Hazard mitigation is needed to break this repetitive cycle by producing less vulnerable conditions through post-disaster repairs and reconstruction. The implementation of such hazard mitigation actions now by state and local governments means building stronger, safer and smarter communities that will be able to reduce future injuries and future damage.
Hazard Mitigation Breaks the Cycle
When recurrent disasters take place, such as flooding along a river, repeated damage and reconstruction occurs. This recurrent reconstruction is often more expensive as the years go by. Hazard mitigation breaks this expensive cycle of recurrent damage and increasing reconstruction costs by taking a long-term view of rebuilding and recovery following natural disasters.
What Are the 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 the Tools of Hazard Mitigation?
- Land use planning & regulation of the development in hazard-prone areas, such as prohibiting new construction in a floodplain, along a coastline or in any other hazard prone area.
- Enforcement of building codes and environmental regulations.
- Public safety measures such as continual maintenance of roadways, culverts and dams.
- Acquisition of relocation of properties, such as purchasing buildings located in a floodplain.
- Retrofitting of structures & design of new construction such as elevating a home or building.
- Coastal zone management, such as dune restoration and harbor safety measures.
- Comprehensive emergency planning, preparedness and recovery.