Hazard Mitigation Planning
Losses from disasters need not be excessive in all cases. The implementation of disaster loss reduction, or hazard mitigation measures, is essential to ensuring that losses from disasters are eliminated or curtailed.
The Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 200 places new emphasis on State and local mitigation planning. The Act created Section 322 and implementing Regulations, 44 CFR Part 201 - "Mitigation Planning." In addressing the requirements for State and local All-Hazard Mitigation Plans, both the law and the regulations indicate that local governments must possess a FEMA-approved Mitigation Plan in order to be eligible for project funding. The effective date of the plan requirement was November 1, 2004.
New York State Executive Law, Article 2-B, Sections 23 and 28-a also provide for State and local hazard mitigation planning.
In summary, State and local Hazard Mitigation Plans satisfy both State and federal requirements.
State Hazard Mitigation Planning
The 2014 New York State Standard Hazard Mitigation Plan (SHMP) was approved by FEMA and adopted by the Disaster Preparedness Commission on December 18, 2013. The Standard Hazard Mitigation Plan qualifies the State for federal Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA), which includes the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program, and the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program. Together, these programs provide significant opportunities to reduce or eliminate potential losses to state and local governments in New York State through hazard mitigation planning and project grant funding.
The 2014 SHMP also keeps New York State eligible for mitigation opportunities through the Public Assistance (PA) program. Through the PA program, FEMA provides supplemental federal disaster assistance for debris removal, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, state owned facilities and the facilities of certain private non-profit organizations. All told, New York State's update and adoption of its Hazard Mitigation Plan without lapse keeps literally billions of dollars in Federal disaster assistance flowing into the Empire State to repair damages from past (and future) disasters, including most recently Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and Superstorm Sandy.
Local Hazard Mitigation Planning
As of November 1, 2004, all local governments are required to have a FEMA-approved all-hazard mitigation plan in order to receive project funding from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program (PDM) and the Flood Mitigation Assistance Program (FMA) continue to require communities to have a FEMA-approved multi-hazard mitigation plan prior to requesting project implementation funds. A mitigation plan prepared under the all-hazard mitigation guidelines outlines in 44 CFR Part 201.6 should satisfy the planning requirements of the HMGP, PDM and FMA. The plan could also satisfy the mitigation planning requirements of other programs, e.g., the Community Rating System (CRS) planning requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The CRS provides for a reduction in NFIP premiums when participating communities implement actions beyond the minimum requirements of the NFIP.
A community's multi-hazard mitigation plan indicates that the community has identified the hazards to which it is exposed, assessed the attendant risks and vulnerabilities, prepared a mitigation strategy to reduce to eliminate those risks and vulnerabilities, and has developed an action plan that will ensure the implementation of the mitigation strategy. Public input and participation by all relevant stakeholders in the planning process is required.
As outlined in the all-hazard mitigation guidelines in 44 CFR Part 201.6, local mitigation plans can be prepared either by a single jurisdiction (e.g., a village, town or city) or by multiple jurisdictions working together. State OEM strongly recommends multi-jurisdictional plans as they produce better results in a much more cost-effective manner. Local all-hazard mitigation plans become active once they are approved by FEMA and adopted by one of the participating jurisdictions. Local plans must be reviewed, updated and resubmitted for approval every five years.
State OEM has developed additional hazard mitigation planning standards (see link below) to augment those required by FEMA. These include a better analysis of potential projects and remedies, the identification of local, state and federal funding sources, and other measures to protect lives and property. While some of these items (like identifying locations for temporary and permanent post-disaster housing, and beefing up evacuation routes and sheltering procedures) may not meet the traditional definition of Mitigation, we encourage communities to consider them while stakeholders are convened to analyze their damage history and community needs.
Please Note: After October 15, 2012, these will be "required actions" for any hazard mitigation plan developed with funds administered by State OEM and will be part of all contracts executed with grant recipients. All grantees are encouraged to include this information in their "Request for Proposals" and to provide it to their consultants before planning begins in earnest.
Hazard Mitigation Planning Tools
- The 2013 Local Mitigation Planning Handbook is the official guide for local governments to develop, update and implement local mitigation plans - http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/31598?id=7209
- NYSERDA Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID)
- Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative’ by the Committee on Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters, the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy, and The National Academies
- FEMA Local Mitigation Planning Handbook for Community Officials
- 2011 Local Mitigation Plan Review Guide - New planning initiatives should use this review guide & tool as FEMA will use it to review plans exclusively, beginning October 1, 2012 - see "fact sheet" below for details.
- 2017 NYS Hazard Mitigation Planning Standards
- 2017 NYS Hazard Mitigation Planning Standards Guide
- FEMA map showing the hazard mitigation planning status of NYS communities
- NYS Sea Level Rise Task Force materials and findings
- NYS Climate Smart Communities: http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/50845.html
- NYS Community Sustainability: http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/76483.html
- Beyond the Basics: Best Practices in Local Mitigation Planning. University of North Carolina. http://mitigationguide.org/about-this-handbook-2/