What is Hazard Mitigation?
In 2000, the President signed into law the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000). Part of this act requires local governments to develop and submit a hazard mitigation plan as a condition of receiving grant assistance for mitigation projects. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), HAZARD MITIGATION is any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risks to people and their property from hazards. The purpose of hazard mitigation planning is to identify long-range policies and actions that can be implemented to reduce current risks and future losses.
How are Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Connected?
We must remember that climate change is going to happen into the foreseeable future, and that development lasts for decades. It takes time to see the results of successful proactive planning. For years to come, the City may continue to experience risks associated with elevated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While these changes cannot be prevented, Baltimore can prepare by incorporating the anticipated risks associated with climate change into hazard mitigation planning efforts. Integrating hazard mitigation planning, which focuses on past events, with climate adaptation planning, which focuses on what will likely happen in the future, offers a positive, win-win solution for Baltimore City.
Both processes require a risk assessment, which includes a detailed inventory of natural hazards and a vulnerability analysis. This assessment informs actions to mitigate hazards and to adapt to predicted climate impacts. It provides clear guidance and a unified strategy that supports Baltimore’s sustainability and resiliency goals.
We must also recognize that it takes a significant amount of time to reach our long-term goals. Therefore, we must act now and prepare for the future by proactively mitigating natural hazards and adapting to climate change. Proactively planning for a hazard is much more effective than responding to impacts following a disaster. Additionally, a proactive method can provide significant cost savings. For instance, every dollar that FEMA spends on natural hazard mitigation will produce, on average, $4 in future benefits. More importantly, proactively planning for hazard mitigation and climate adaption protects the health and well-being of Baltimore’s residents, and supports a sustainable, growing City.