Hazard mitigation, as emergency management planners know, is key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. In fact, the National Institute of Building Sciences now estimates that every dollar invested in mitigation saves six dollars in prevented damages (up from four dollars in previous years). That’s a whole lot of money when you consider the incredibly high costs associated with most natural disasters. 

Take 2019, for example. As recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), there were 14 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included three flooding events, eight severe storm events, two tropical cyclone events, and one wildfire event. Further, these events resulted in the deaths of 44 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted. 

According to NOAA, 2019 is the fifth consecutive year (2015-2019) in which ten or more billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events have impacted the United States. Over the last 40 years (1980-2019), the years with ten or more separate billion-dollar disaster events include 1998, 2008, 2011-2012, and 2015-2019.

It’s no wonder the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continually emphasizes the need for state, local and tribal governments to develop and maintain hazard mitigation plans. One of the agency’s latest initiatives to educate communities is its Making Mitigation Work Webinar Series. The series, created in partnership with the Natural Hazards Center, highlights recent progress in mitigation policy, practice, and research. 

The next of these monthly webinars is scheduled for Tuesday, March 10, 2020, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM Eastern. It is titled All Along the Wasatch Fault: Best Building Practices from Utah’s Earthquake Mitigation Efforts and the speakers are Bradley Bartholomew from the Utah Division of Emergency Management and FEMA representative, Sean McGowan. To register for the webinar, visit https://cuboulder.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_6ood-b_3QsKFdo45bD13fg

If you can’t make the March 10th webinar, but want to learn more about how mitigation is working for communities across America, don’t worry. All webinars in the series are recorded and made available online following their scheduled times. You’ll find past recordings at https://hazards.colorado.edu/training/webinars/pastrecordings

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