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Hazard Mitigation Planning

Mitigation Plans form the foundation for a community's long-term strategy to reduce disaster losses and break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. The planning process is as important as the plan itself. It creates a framework for risk-based decision making to reduce damages to lives, property, and the economy from future disasters. Hazard mitigation is sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and their property from hazards.

Hazard mitigation planning reduces the risk to people and property, and reduces the cost of recovering from a disaster.  A hazard mitigation plan can help communities become more sustainable and disaster-resistant by focusing efforts on the hazards, disaster-prone areas and identifying appropriate mitigation actions.  Effective mitigation planning and efforts can break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage.

Take a look at these videos from FEMA about Hazard Mitigation Planning.


Local Mitigation Plan Review Guide

FEMA's new Local Mitigation Plan Review Guide (released October 1, 2011) contains several significant changes from the current local mitigation planning guidance:
  • Stronger emphasis on the Mitigation Strategy and Implementation;
  • Simplified to describe only the regulatory requirements;
  • New Guiding Principles and Intent statements support regulatory requirements; and
  • New Plan Review Tool to replace the existing Crosswalk in a simplified format and communicate implementation of the plan as well as improvements to the plan.
Implementation will be phased over the course of a year and the Local Mitigation Plan Review Guide will become effective on October 1, 2012 to allow stakeholders at the State and local level to prepare for the change.
The Local Mitigation Planning Handbook is the official guide for local governments to develop, update and implement local mitigation plans. While the requirements under §201.6 have not changed, the Handbook provides guidance to local governments on developing or updating hazard mitigation plans to meet the requirements under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 44 – Emergency Management and Assistance §201.6, Local Mitigation Plans for FEMA approval and eligibility to apply for FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs.
It also offers practical approaches, tools, worksheets and local mitigation planning examples for how communities can engage in effective planning to reduce long-term risk from natural hazards and disasters. The Handbook complements and liberally references the Local Mitigation Plan Review Guide , which is the official guidance for Federal and State officials responsible for reviewing local mitigation plans in a fair and consistent manner.

If your community plans to hire a consultant to update your local Hazard Mitigation Plan, first  read this FEMA Hazard Mitigation Consultant Fact Sheet for some good background.

Minnesota All-Hazard Mitigation Plan Status  

The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA2K) reinforces the importance of hazard mitigation planning and emphasizes planning for disasters before they occur. The DMA2K requires that all state, local and tribal governments have a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved multi-hazard mitigation plan in order to be eligible for federal disaster mitigation assistance funds. These plans are critical to maintaining eligibility for future funding. 


Individuals interested in learning more about the hazard mitigation planning process and how to write and maintain their own plan can take  FEMA’s online training course IS318.  This course is free of charge and offered by FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute.

IS-318, Mitigation Planning for Local and Tribal Communities, is a course offered online by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The goals of this course are to:

  • Assist participants in undertaking the hazard mitigation plan development process. This plan will meet the needs of your community and fulfill the requirements for local plans, as described in 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §201.6, or for Tribal plans, as described in 44 CFR §201.7.
  • Help federal and state plan reviewers interpret the regulations to inform the review of local or Tribal hazard mitigation plans.

This online training course along with video training provided through the links below, covers the fundamentals of the mitigation planning requirements for communities to develop new or updated Mitigation Plans that address community priorities and needs and meet requirements established in 44 CFR 201.6.

This course describes the planning process, the requirements for stakeholder involvement, the relationship between multi-hazard mitigation planning requirements and elements of the Community Rating System to assess risks and develop effective mitigation strategies. Finally, the basic elements of the plan review, approval, and update cycle are covered, including tips for implementing and maintaining an approved plan, tracking performance, keeping stakeholders involved, and preventing plans from lapsing or expiring.

The Plan Review Training for Local Mitigation Plans, a 90 minute webinar and separate slide presentation, is now available from the FEMA Library.  

Online Training:

IS-318, Mitigation Planning for Local and Tribal Communities 

Other Resources:

"Beyond the Basics" Website Shares Best Practices in Local Mitigation Planning
The "Beyond the Basics" website is the product of a five-year research study conducted by the Coastal Hazards Center and the Center for Sustainable Community Design at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC).  As part of this study, researchers at UNC systematically analyzed 175 local hazard mitigation plans drawn from six states to assess their content and quality.  Each plan was evaluated using a hazard mitigation plan quality protocol that has been developed, tested and applied over several projects across the country. 

The website is designed to help guide the user through the process of developing or updating a local hazard mitigation plan that will meet the requirements for approval by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).