Story County is updating its Hazard Mitigation Plan. This plan develops community mitigation strategies, to work toward reducing the risks posed by hazards. The plan must be updated and approved by FEMA every five years to keep it current and to maintain eligibility for mitigation grant assistance. The plan is currently being updated under the guidance of a Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee.
What is hazard mitigation?
The term “Hazard Mitigation” describes actions that can help reduce or eliminate long-term risks caused by hazards, such as floods, wildfires, tornadoes, and earthquakes. Hazard mitigation is best accomplished when based on a comprehensive, long-term plan developed before a disaster strikes.
As the costs of disaster and hazard impacts continue to rise, governments and citizens must find ways to reduce hazard risks to our communities. Oftentimes after disasters, repairs and reconstruction are completed in such a way as to simply restore damaged property to pre-disaster conditions. These efforts may “get things back to normal,” but the replication of pre-disaster conditions often results in a repetitive cycle of damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage.
Hazard mitigation breaks this repetitive cycle by producing less vulnerable conditions through pre- and post-disaster actions, projects, and resilient reconstruction. The implementation of such hazard mitigation actions now by local governments means building stronger, safer, and smarter communities that will be able to reduce future injuries and damages.
Mitigation is an investment in a community’s future safety, sustainability, and resiliency. Recent cost-benefit studies have proven mitigation to be cost effective for communities, with mitigation projects returning $6 for every $1 spent. Mitigation planning helps communities take action now, before a disaster, to reduce impacts when a disaster occurs.
The Plan Update Process
The county is following a 4-phase/9-step process to update the plan over the first half of 2023 following FEMA guidance with consultant assistance.
How to Get Involved
Residents, organizations, interested stakeholders and businesses are encouraged to contribute to the planning process. One way is to take a short public survey designed to gather input on hazards and their mitigation. Take the Public Survey, which is open to responses until May 15.
The updated plan is anticipated to be ready for public review and comment in the fall of 2023.