Concepts of Mitigation

Part 1: Introduction

Mitigation is an ongoing function of emergency management that involves preventing hazards from developing into disasters and reducing the effects of disasters when they do occur. Examples of mitigation include implementing building codes and land-use legislation, constructing flood levees and dams, and providing insurance coverage in disaster-prone areas. In this module, we will provide you with the opportunity to visit each of the concepts behind mitigation and to learn strategies for fashioning a mitigation program.

In the United States, natural and man-made disasters result in the loss of hundreds of lives and billions of dollars in property damage each year. These disasters include hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and other incidents. The table below highlights the ten severest incidents in terms of dollar loss that have occurred since the birth of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1979:

Table 2.1 FEMA’s Most Expensive Presidentially Declared Disasters

Event and States Involved Year FEMA Funding ($)
Hurricane Katrina* (FL, LA, MS, AL) 2005 29,318,576,948
Attack on America, World Trade Center (NY, NJ, VA) 2001 8,818,350,120
Northridge Earthquake (CA) 1994 6,978,325,877
Hurricane Rita (TX, LA) 2005 3,749,698,351
Hurricane Ivan (LA, AL, MS, FL, NC, GA, NJ, PA, WV, NY, TN) 2004 2,431,034,355
Hurricane Georges (AL, FL, MS, PR, VI) 1998 2,245,157,178
Hurricane Wilma (FL) 2005 2,110,738,364
Hurricane Charley (FL, SC) 2004 1,885,466,628
Hurricane Andrew (FL, LA) 1992 1,813,594,813
Hurricane Frances (FL, NC, PA, OH, NY, GA, SC) 2004 1,773,440,505

*approximately 68 percent funded

Based on information from FEMA, 2006, FEMA Web site

During the 1990s, FEMA provided over $25 billion in disaster assistance across the United States. In the same decade, the economic impact of disasters worldwide exceeded $600 billion (Haddow & Bullock, 2006, p. 57). As table 2.1 illustrates, the costs to FEMA in the first half of this decade have already exceeded those of the 1990s, even with Hurricane Katrina alone. Considering the rising costs of emergency management, it is important to recognize that we can achieve substantial savings through mitigation, and that we have a continuing need to educate public officials at all levels of government about this critical function of emergency management.

FEMA began emphasizing mitigation about a decade ago as a means of lessening the effects of a disaster. Here are the three main ways in which mitigation contributes to safety, in FEMA’s words:

1. “It creates safer communities by reducing loss of life and property damage. For example, the rigorous building standards adopted by 20,000 communities across the country are saving the nation more than $1.1 billion a year in prevented flood damages” (FEMA, 2007, FEMA Web site).

Examples of such building standards include elevated structure regulations, material use restrictions, and setback requirements for waterfront construction.

2. “It allows individuals to minimize post-flood disaster disruptions and recover more rapidly. For example, homes built to NFIP [National Flood Insurance Program] standards incur less damage from floods. And when floods do cause damages, flood insurance protects the homeowner’s investment, as it did for the more than 200,000 Gulf Coast residents who received more than $23 billion in payments following the 2005 hurricanes” (FEMA, 2007, FEMA Web site).

The NFIP, however, does not mitigate every type of hazard. Because the NFIP makes payments only in response to flood damage and not to destruction caused by hurricane winds, some homeowners in the areas affected by Katrina are still debating with the agency over whether or not they should receive reimbursement. Additionally, large numbers of homeowners choose to gamble with nature and not to purchase NFIP insurance.

3. “It lessens the financial impact on individuals, communities, and society as a whole. For example, a recent study by the Multihazard Mitigation Council shows that each dollar spent on mitigation saves society an average of four dollars” (FEMA, 2007, FEMA Web site).

It is often difficult to convince legislators of the importance of this type of investment, especially at the local level, and the person with this responsibility is the emergency manager.

In module 1, we examined the types of natural and man-made hazards most likely to threaten the lives and property of communities in the United States. Now, we will introduce you to some of the tools that emergency managers use to identify, assess, and minimize the effects of hazards on their communities.

Part 2: Concepts of Mitigation

Mitigation is defined as any sustained action taken to eliminate or reduce the long-term risk to human life and property from natural or man-made hazards. The rising costs of disaster response and recovery have led to a renewed focus on mitigation within the emergency management community.

The prevention or minimization of a disaster significantly reduces the financial burden of recovery. The emergency management organization must recognize that a dollar spent today will help reduce human suffering and financial loss tomorrow. Mitigation also decreases the economic losses that often follow a disaster from the destruction of property, the loss or interruption of jobs, and the closing or disabling of businesses and essential governmental services.

Communities can perform an almost infinite number of actions to support mitigation. For example, a community can intercept and act on the hazard itself. Seeding hurricanes and other weather events, triggering avalanches, and creating fire breaks may eliminate or reduce the severity of a disaster before it spirals out of control. Communities can also redirect hazards through such actions as constructing seawalls or initiating dune restoration programs to help push water away from the vulnerable areas of a community. Another mitigation strategy is to enforce safety regulations to improve the ability of buildings and other structures to withstand violent storms and earthquakes.

Of course, the perfect mitigation strategy is to eliminate the hazard altogether. River corridor projects benefit floodplains while relocating structures to less vulnerable locations. Law enforcement and rescue organizations can protect the community from crime and fire. On a macro level, intelligence programs can abort or neutralize threats. Mitigation possibilities are almost limitless, and are bounded only by the imagination and determination of the community and its emergency manager.

Hazard Analysis

Before you, as an emergency manager, can determine which mitigation measures to implement, you will need to evaluate the hazards that most threaten the safety of your community’s citizens and their property. You must conduct a hazard analysis of the community. This involves the following steps (Haddow & Bullock, 2006, pp. 53–54):

1. identify and characterize the hazards

2. evaluate each hazard for its severity and frequency

3. estimate the risk

4. determine the potential direct and indirect social and economic effects and costs

5. determine an acceptable level of risk

6. identify risk-reduction opportunities

1. Identify and Characterize the Hazards

In module 1, we listed types of natural and man-made hazards that can affect our communities. The first step you will need to take in conducting a hazard analysis is to assess each of these hazards and to determine whether or not they put your community at risk.

For example, earthquakes rarely affect the East Coast of the United States, and so pose a minimal (but not totally absent) risk to the communities along that coast.

However, the East Coast is subject to severe storm systems, including tornados, thunderstorms, tropical storms, and hurricanes. If you live on the East Coast, you will need to assess the hazards associated with these types of incidents. For example, hurricanes pose a risk of high winds, flooding, and structural collapse.

2. Evaluate each Hazard for its Severity and Frequency

The next step you will need to take is to quantify each of the hazards identified in step 1 in terms of its severity (impact) and frequency.

In terms of emergency management, frequency is the measurement of how often an event occurs—several times each year, once per year, once every ten years, etc. Severity is the measurement of the damage to property and/or the loss of life caused by an event. You may choose a scaling factor to assess severity, such as noneminimalmoderate, or severe; or you may chose another factor. Although not absolute indicators of risk, the factors and figures you obtain in analyzing frequency and severity will help you to assess the likelihood and impact of a particular event.

In developing its mitigation plan, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, identified twenty-seven hazards that could affect the county (Anne Arundel County Citizens Information Center, 2004, Anne Arundel County Web site). The county estimated the potential number of occurrences (frequency) and the potential impact (severity) of each, identifying extreme heat and public health emergencies as quadrant D (high frequency, high impact) concerns. These hazards required the most immediate mitigation actions.

During this step, some organizations develop a graphic representation of the severity and frequency of potential hazards. You can see one type of assessment grid in figure 2.2:

Figure 2.2 Risk Assessment Model

Probability Risk Assessment Model

Emergency managers using the grid above would assign each hazard to a quadrant based on its probability of occurrence (frequency) and its impact (severity). Hazards assigned to quadrant A inspire the lowest level of concern, as they have a low frequency and a low level of impact. Conversely, any hazard assigned to quadrant D causes the highest level of concern, as it has both a high frequency and a high level of impact. Hazards assigned to either quadrant B or C engender a moderate level of concern.

Using a graphic model such as the one above enables the emergency manager to prioritize planning and mitigation efforts.

In figure 2.3, we apply information from the Anne Arundel County mitigation plan to our risk assessment model to rank some hazards that could affect the citizens of this area:

Figure 2.3 Anne Arundel County, MD Risk Assessment Model

Probability Anne Arundel County, MD Risk Assessment Model

You can see that extreme heat and public health emergencies have a high probability of occurrence and a high level of impact in Anne Arundel County, and that they should take priority in mitigation planning. Earthquakes, civil disturbances, and severe winter storms, however, are not likely to cause much damage, and should not take up too many mitigation resources. The county should put a moderate amount of resources into mitigating terrorist attacks and riverine flooding.

3. Estimate the Risk

In module 1, we defined risk as the susceptibility of an individual or community to personal injury or loss of life; property damage or destruction; or economic loss. In this step, you will need to determine the risk to your community from each type of hazard: how many people could be affected? What property could suffer damage or destruction? What critical facilities or public infrastructure could need repair or reconstruction? This step will help you to identify the areas most at risk.

You will then be able to focus planning and mitigation efforts on those areas. The Anne Arundel County mitigation plan identified extreme heat as a key risk based on the occurrence of seven high-heat episodes in the four years prior to the study. The assessors also identified the population most vulnerable—those citizens who cannot afford artificial cooling. Such assessments enable emergency managers to give the community members most at risk the resources they need to prevent illness or injury.

4. Determine the Potential Direct and Indirect Social and Economic Effects and Costs

In module 1, you had the opportunity to review the effects of disasters on a community, both direct (financial and economic) and indirect (sociological and political). Now, with the information gained from the first three steps of your hazard analysis, you will need to quantify the potential impact of a disaster on your community.

Anne Arundel County emergency personnel know that the most serious effect of extreme heat is a high number of deaths. A population count of those most at risk aided the county in establishing mitigation procedures.

5. Determine an Acceptable Level of Risk

Once you understand the potential risks (steps 1 and 2) as well as the potential impact (steps 3 and 4) of an event in your community, you will have to accept that no amount of mitigation will guarantee that an incident will not occur and that it will not cause damage, injuries, or deaths. You will then want to assess what level of risk may be socially or politically acceptable, and make your recommendations to the senior official in your jurisdiction. Ultimately, he or she will have to decide what constitutes “acceptable risk.”

In Anne Arundel County, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) deemed it appropriate to ignore potential damage to roads as a result of high heat. Mitigation efforts focused on at-risk populations, with a general awareness approach for other populations.

6. Identify Risk-Reduction Opportunities

The final step in your risk analysis is to identify opportunities to reduce risk through preventive measures and mitigation strategies. You will use all of the information you collected in the steps above to focus and prioritize your planning and mitigation efforts.

Anne Arundel County identified six strategies to handle the extreme heat problem. In order from highest- to lowest-priority, here are the strategies (Anne Arundel County Citizens Information Center, 2004, Anne Arundel County Web site):

1. initiate an extreme heat education and awareness campaign

2. create a database to track populations at risk from extreme heat

3. increase tree-planting among public rights-of-way

4. create plan for establishing cooling centers and shelters

5. cooperate with news outlets to distribute information about extreme heat

6. create partnerships with organizations who can donate fans for heat relief

The county conducted similar risk assessment studies and developed similar mitigation approaches for each of the other twenty-six hazards identified in the plan.

Questions to Consider

1. For which hazard is your home or community at the highest risk?

2. What types of damage are most likely to occur in the event of an incident involving that hazard?

3. What steps can your community take to reduce the damage from an incident involving that hazard?

4. How will you know if those mitigation measures have succeeded?

This last question is a particularly difficult one, and often, there is no clear answer. This issue also confronts those who provide emergency warnings. If they give a warning and the incident in question does not occur, did they preempt the incident, or was it not going to occur in the first place? Mitigation efforts often carry with them the same ambiguities. In the final analysis, often the only thing the emergency manager can do is to use his or her “best judgment.”

Ongoing Action

A hazard analysis is a good way to initiate mitigation procedures, but it is important to note that mitigation is an ongoing process that cannot be touched upon once and then forgotten. FEMA defines hazard mitigation as “sustained action that reduces or eliminates long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects” (Haddow & Bullock, 2006, p. 57). Mitigation represents a partnership among federal, state, and local governments; businesses; and individuals; and it includes all actions taken to lessen damages to people, property, and resources before a disaster strikes.

One goal of mitigation is to break the cycle of emergency management, as an incident prevented will not require the activation of the other functions, especially response, and recovery. Because mitigation focuses on long-term solutions to reducing risk, it is often treated separately from the other functions in the cycle, performed in advance of an emergency incident or disaster.

Mitigation, though, proves extremely beneficial when performed in conjunction with the other functions of the emergency management cycle. During the preparedness phase, emergency personnel should integrate mitigation planning (preventive actions) with the planning for response and recovery. During the actual response and recovery phases, personnel should make key decisions during cleanup and reconstruction to minimize the impact of a similar disaster.

Part 3: Mitigation Strategies and Programs

Here, we will discuss tools for and impediments to mitigation, as well as federal mitigation programs.

Tools for Mitigation

All the actions required for a successful mitigation program can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, tools can assist in performing these tasks. As the overall goal of mitigation is to reduce the level of risk associated with a disaster or emergency, we classify the tools available to the emergency manager as risk analysis tools (tools to assess the risk) and risk reduction tools (tools to minimize the risk).

Risk Analysis Tools

Risk analysis tools enable the emergency manager to assess the potential for damage to property as a result of a disaster in the community. Risk analysis tools include mapping and hazard identification mechanisms.

As discussed above, the first step in determining appropriate mitigation strategies is to identify the hazards that threaten the safety of citizens and their property. This involves generating maps showing areas at risk from specific types of natural or man-made hazards. Fortunately, the federal government has developed tools to assist the emergency manager in completing this task. Federal programs map almost every type of hazard. The NFIP engages in detailed floodplain mapping. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) provides mapping to support earthquake and landslide hazard analyses.

Mapping is a good place to start during a hazard analysis, but the use of maps alone limits the assessment process. Maps can only provide so much information. Also, they are typically generated in response to a single type of hazard, whereas emergency managers often need to assess the impact of multiple types of disasters. Fortunately, mapping technology continues to improve. Each new generation of maps provides more human factor information in addition to the traditional topographic and structural data. Just as importantly, we are now able to locate places with a very high degree of accuracy.

For example, the following hazard map from the USGS could help you make a rough assessment of the potential for earthquake damage in your area:

Figure 2.4 Earthquake Hazard Map of the United States

Source: USGS, USGS Web site

The West Coast of the United States has the highest risk of an earthquake, with a slight risk on the East Coast. However, the area with the highest risk of loss to life and property from an earthquake is in the Midwest. The New Madrid fault runs through a large portion of this region (touching parts of Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, and Tennessee), and has the potential to give rise to a truly catastrophic earthquake.

Technology has helped us to overcome many of the limitations of hazard mapping. Computer-generated geographic information systems (GIS) now integrate mapping and data with hazard-specific information. GIS mapping does not concern itself so much with maps as with the information that one can put into them. GIS takes a standard map and overlays it with data from multiple databases (some with static data and some with real-time data inputs) that depict hazards and potential areas of impact. GIS mapping can show the geographic details of a community, along with information on man-made features such as buildings, roads, and population clusters.

Risk Reduction Tools

Risk reduction tools are the primary tools used in mitigation. Risk reduction tools include all of the actions taken by the emergency manager to remove or minimize the risk of and potential for damage to property as a result of a disaster in the community. To reduce risk, we must consider the hazard and/or threat, the potential for damage or loss of life, and the overall needs of the community.

The following are some risk reduction tools available to you as an emergency manager. Click on each link to read more.

1. design and construction standards

2. structural controls

3. land-use planning

4. public education and awareness

5. financial incentives

6. insurance

7. prevention

Impediments to Mitigation

One of the challenges of the emergency management organization is to give sufficient attention to mitigation. Quite often, the organization will be so focused on building capabilities for response that it will ignore its mitigation responsibilities. In this section, we will review several impediments to mitigation efforts. These include

· denial of risk

· political will

· costs and lack of funding

· the taking issue

Denial of Risk

Even though most emergency managers perform hazard assessments, many are reluctant to admit that their community is at risk, as businesses may refuse to locate in the area, or developers build in the region. To some degree, this attitude is changing. Emergency managers recognize that they are subject to more liability for not admitting potential risk than for admitting risk and planning for an appropriate response in the event of a disaster.

Political Will

Politicians focus on programs with short-term benefits—benefits that will become visible during their terms of office, and for which they can claim responsibility. Mitigation programs need to concentrate on the long term, and many politicians are unwilling to support them if they will not lead to immediate improvements.

Costs and Lack of Funding

Mitigation costs money, and with so many programs competing for funding these days, preventive measures are often among the first to be cut. The federal government supports many of these programs, with requirements for state and local matching funds. Government at all levels must therefore make budgeting decisions to provide adequate money for mitigation programs.

The Taking Issue

Because many mitigation programs require the acquisition of privately owned property, the government must often make payments to property owners. In some cases, this may result in long, drawn-out legal battles, as the property owner and the government debate the issue of fair compensation.

Cases related to eminent domain, or the power of the state to seize private property, are replete with social and political conflict. If possible, eminent domain should be treated as a last resort. For example, the forced evacuation of residents from an area affected by annual flooding can cause fierce controversy, as many of those residents may not be able to afford homes in nearby areas.

Federal Mitigation Programs

Through its Mitigation Division, FEMA holds responsibility for a variety of programs designed to help state, tribal, and local governments implement mitigation procedures. Assistance ranges from providing technical aid to administering grant programs to fund mitigation initiatives. Much of the authority for these programs comes from the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988 (the Stafford Act), as amended by the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000.

The Disaster Mitigation Act permits the federal government to provide technical and financial assistance to state and local governments to identify and implement mitigation programs. As a condition of receiving funding, state, local, and tribal governments must submit a mitigation plan that identifies the hazards affecting their area and that outlines strategies to reduce damage.

Federal Mitigation Assistance Grant Programs

FEMA administers five mitigation assistance programs that provide grants to state and local governments. Although each program has different requirements, all five have the common goal of reducing life and property loss. These grant assistance programs are as follows (FEMA, FEMA Web site):

1. Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)

2. Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program

3. Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program

4. Repetitive Flood Claims (RFC) program

5. Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL) program

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)

Authority: Section 404 of the Stafford Act Purpose: to provide funds to states, territories, tribal governments, and communities to significantly reduce or permanently eliminate risk to lives and property from natural hazards

Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Program

Authority: Section 1366 of the National Flood Insurance Act Purpose: to implement cost-effective measures to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of flood damage to buildings, manufactured homes, and other structures insured under the NFIP

Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Program

Authority: Section 203 of the Stafford Act Purpose: to provide funds to states, territories, tribal governments, and communities for hazard mitigation planning and the implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster event

Repetitive Flood Claims (RFC) Program

Authority: Section 1323 of the Flood Insurance Reform Act (FIRA) Purpose: to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of flood damage to structures insured under the NFIP that have had one or more claim payment(s) for flood damages

Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL) Program

Authority: Section 1361a of the FIRA Purpose: to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of flood damage to residential properties that suffer severe repetitive loss, and the associated drain on the National Flood Insurance Fund (NFIF) from such properties

Federal Mitigation Technical Assistance Programs

FEMA is also responsible for administering technical assistance programs to help state and local governments manage mitigation. Here are four such programs:

1. National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

2. National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP)

3. National Dam Safety Program (NDSP)

4. National Hurricane Program (NHP)

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

The National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP reduces property loss from flooding in two ways. First, it stipulates that participating states and communities develop and enforce floodplain management regulations. Secondly, it enables property owners in participating states and communities to purchase insurance as a protection against flood losses.

National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP)

Congress established the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) in 1977 to reduce damage to life and property from earthquakes. The NEHRP provides funding for research in earthquake science and engineering.

The NEHRP has four major goals (FEMA, 2007, FEMA Web site):

1. develop effective practices and policies for earthquake loss reduction, and accelerate their implementation

2. improve techniques to reduce seismic vulnerability of facilities and systems

3. improve seismic hazards identification and risk-assessment methods and their use

4. improve the understanding of earthquakes and their effects

National Dam Safety Program (NDSP)

State and local governments manage safety programs for approximately 80,000 dams across the United States. The federal government has supported the states and provided programs for dam safety for over twenty-five years. In 1996, these programs became part of the National Dam Safety Program (NDSP). The Dam Safety and Security Act of 2002 amended the provisions of the NDSP, authorizing its continuance for an additional four years and adding certain provisions for dam safety against terrorist actions.

National Hurricane Program (NHP)

The National Hurricane Program (NHP) arose in 1985 to provide technical assistance to state and local governments in conducting hazard assessments and developing hurricane evacuation plans. The program is a partnership between FEMA, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association (NOAA), NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

The NHP provides assistance for the following (FEMA, 2007, FEMA Web site):

· safe and effective evacuations

· national hurricane program training

· hurricane response and recovery

· post-storm assessments

· hurricane loss mitigation

Part 4: Defining a Framework for Mitigation

Successful mitigation programs require teamwork among federal, state, and local governments and the public. In our final discussion, we will review the roles of each of these partners in planning, funding, and implementing mitigation programs.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Federal Government

The role of the federal government in responding to an emergency varies from distant observer to response agency. The federal government recognizes the sovereign rights of states as guaranteed in the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and considers the response to an emergency a local issue until a state requests federal assistance.

However, recognizing the growing need for financial aid for response, recovery, and reconstruction after a disaster, the federal government has increased its support for state and local mitigation efforts. This commitment is best illustrated by the provisions of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, as discussed in the previous section.

This legislation authorizes the federal government to provide technical assistance and financial support to state and local governments to plan and implement mitigation programs. The federal government may also establish legal and policy procedures to ensure that all state and local governments implement mitigation programs in a consistent manner. Despite these provisions, emergency management ultimately falls under state and local control.

Roles and Responsibilities of the State Government

As noted above, the U.S. Constitution provides states with the power to create reasonable legislation to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the public. States have the authority to develop mitigation programs. The federal government provides technical assistance and financial incentives to help states to identify and implement these programs.

Following the regulations and guidelines provided by the federal government, states may draft laws to manage environmentally sensitive or hazardous areas. Each state’s Emergency Management Office (EMO) appoints a State Hazard Mitigation Officer (SHMO) to identify and set into motion mitigation programs. States may differ in their approaches where hazards dictate specific controls or where the political climate influences land-use legislation.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Local Government

Whenever reasonable, states may delegate a portion of their public safety authority and responsibility to local jurisdictions. At a minimum, local governments have the authority and right to enact laws to enforce land-use restrictions, zoning and permit requirements, capital improvement programs, and other regulatory actions.

Because affected local communities suffer more than the state as a whole after a disaster or emergency, it is important for them to make mitigation planning a cornerstone of emergency management for their jurisdiction. Local enforcement of property-use regulations is critical in preventing and reducing loss of property and life in the event of a disaster or emergency.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Public

At the heart of a community’s resiliency are its citizens. It is each citizen’s responsibility to be aware of the hazards that may endanger his or her property or life, and to participate in local planning activities to minimize the effects of disasters or emergencies on the community. After Hurricane Katrina, it became painfully clear that the public was poorly prepared to take action even after major storm warnings. Local citizens, businesses, and governments must participate in joint planning activities to bolster their communities in the face of disaster.

Part 5: Summary

In this module, we introduced you to the emergency management function of mitigation. Mitigation involves a significant amount of planning and assessment to determine the hazards that place your community at risk, and the actions you can take to mitigate the effects of those hazards. Mitigation requires a long-term commitment from state and local government in terms of both financial and political support.

In this module, we discussed some impediments to the success of these strategies. However, you must overcome barriers to succeed in your role as the community’s emergency manager. To help direct your efforts toward a successful mitigation program, we reviewed federal programs that provide funding and technical support. With the aid of these programs and tools, you can plan a successful community mitigation program.

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