Writing or updating a hazard mitigation plan (HMP) is a necessary but usually dreaded task. Government agencies know that the process will require funding, time and, of course, resources—all of which they’re usually lacking and have to find workarounds for. Fortunately, most do.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says 87 percent of the nation’s population lives in communities with current mitigation plans. These communities benefit from hazard mitigation planning through understanding of natural hazards, development of mitigation strategies, and eligibility for certain non-emergency FEMA grants.
FEMA presently administers three programs that provide funding for eligible mitigation planning and projects that reduce disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages. The three programs are the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Program, and the Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Program.
- HMGP assists in implementing long-term hazard mitigation planning and projects following a Presidential major disaster declaration
- PDM provides funds for hazard mitigation planning and projects on an annual basis
- FMA provides funds for planning and projects to reduce or eliminate risk of flood damage to buildings that are insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) on an annual basis
The process for writing or updating a HMP is lengthy, and can take several months to complete. In fact, it’s not uncommon for planners to spend hundreds of hours researching, drafting, pulling or running maps, and engaging community stakeholders. It may also take considerable time for the correlating state government and FEMA to review the plan, or for the plan writer(s) to make revisions, if needed.
Plan resubmission(s) can delay the approval process even further, and may actually result in a temporary gap between having current, FEMA-approved plans. For this reason, it is important to start the mitigation planning process well in advance of the required five-year update. It is also a good idea to pad the timeline by a few weeks (six to eight ideally).
Given today’s shrinking budgets, government agencies, large and small, are accustomed to working with limited resources. As such, many, if not most, find it best to outsource projects that require considerable time and/or certain skills or experience. This often includes the writing and updating of HMPs.
Among those specializing in mitigation planning is Tennessee-based BOLDplanning. For years, the company has assisted state, local and tribal governments with preparing grant applications to develop or update their HMPs. Further, BOLDplanning has consistently guided clients through the process of 1) organizing resources, 2) assessing risks, 3) developing mitigation strategies, 4) adopting and implementing plans, and 5) gaining plan approvals from FEMA.
Don’t let the lack of funding, time and resources leave your communities without a current hazard mitigation plan. Email info@BOLDplanning.com or call 615.469.5558 today.