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Natural hazards have the potential to cause property loss, loss of life, economic hardship, and threats to public health and safety. While an important aspect of emergency management deals with disaster recovery, those actions that a community must take to repair damages and make itself whole in the wake of a natural disaster, an equally important aspect of emergency management involves hazard mitigation. Hazard mitigation measures are efforts taken before a disaster happens to lessen the impact that future disasters of that type will have on people and property in the community. They are things you do today to be more protected in the future.
Hazard mitigation actions taken in advance of a hazard event are essential to breaking the typical disaster cycle of damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. With careful selection, hazard mitigation actions can be long-term, cost-effective means of reducing the risk of loss and help create a more disaster-resistant and sustainable community.
A Hazard Mitigation Plan is a well-organized and well-documented evaluation of the hazards that a jurisdiction is susceptible to, and the extent to which these events will occur. Hazard Mitigation Plans identify an area’s vulnerability to the effects of the natural hazards typically present in a certain area, as well as the goals, objectives, and actions required for minimizing future loss of life and property damage as a result of hazard events. The primary purpose of mitigation planning is to systematically identify policies, actions, and tools that can be used to implement those actions.