Friday, March 30, 2012

Mitigation: Important but Often Not Embraced

Defined as actions taken to prevent or reduce the risk to life, property, social and economic activities, and natural resources from natural hazards, mitigation includes such activities as:

  1. Complying with or exceeding flood plain management regulations.
  2. Enforcing stringent building codes, flood-proofing requirements, seismic design standards and wind-bracing requirements for new construction or repairing existing buildings
  3. Adopting zoning ordinances that steer development away from areas subject to flooding, storm surge or coastal erosion.
  4. Retrofitting public buildings to withstand hurricane-strength winds or ground shaking.
  5. Acquiring damaged homes or businesses in flood-prone areas and returning the property to open space, wetlands or recreational use.
  6. Revamping of our infrastructure, roadways, utilities to better meet our needs during a recovery period.

Mitigation also involves a broad spectrum of players outside the traditional emergency management circle. Among others, these parties might include land use planners, construction and building officials (both public and private), business owners, insurance companies, community leaders, politicians and individual home owners.

As important as mitigation is, it is frequently looked-upon as a "cost," and is, therefore, not always embraced by all of the players.

Perhaps you've had some experiences you'd like to share in this area?

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