Take Action: Empowering Communities

Implement Mitigation Actions

Reduce Future Losses - Implementing Mitigation Actions

Hazard mitigation is sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and their property from hazards. Changing long term risk for communities requires communities to take action. Communities should incorporate sustainable re-development concepts into their reconstruction efforts and should encourage both natural non-structural solutions, as well as structural measures to reduce risks. Residents can reduce personal risk through relocation and home elevation. Financial losses due to flooding can be reduced with flood insurance. Sharing risk information with our families and neighbors is everyone’s role.

Reduce Your Risk - All-Hazard Mitigation Planning

In order to reduce future losses and damages, it is important for communities to develop and implement a hazard mitigation plan. This plan helps communities make risk-based decisions concerning future disasters affecting lives, property and the local economy. Mitigation planning is the result of a community joining together to protect themselves from the devastating effects of hazards common to their area. Using the skills of the community planners, floodplain administrators, and emergency managers, along with the information provided by Risk MAP, communities can develop an effective strategy to minimize the damaging effects of hazards. In addition to protecting the lives and property of the community, developing and maintaining an all-hazards mitigation plan will open the door to multiple federal grant opportunities that can offset the costs to mitigate the danger.

Reduce Your Risk – Look for Grant Opportunities

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has five grant programs to help communities reduce loss of life and property: Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM), Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA), Repetitive Flood Claims (RFC), and Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL).

Who can apply for these mitigation grants?

Local governments and communities may apply as a sub-applicant through a State, Territory, or tribal government. State agencies, tribal governments, and in some cases, private nonprofits, may also apply as sub-applicants. Individuals are not eligible to apply for these grant programs.

What does a community have to do in order to be eligible for these mitigation grants?

A community must participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), if a project is located in a floodplain, and must have a current Mitigation Plan which meets the requirements of 44 CFR Part 201.

My community does not participate in the NFIP and/or has no Mitigation Plan, so why bother applying for these mitigation grants?

FEMA can help you join the NFIP! Contact the Region 6 Floodplain Management and Insurance Branch at 940-898-5127 to be directed to a specialist who can assist you. Two of FEMA’s mitigation grants programs, HMGP and PDM, can provide your community with funds to create and implement a Mitigation Plan. Contact the Region 6 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Branch at 940-898-5435 to be directed to a specialist who can assist you with Mitigation Plan funding.

There have been no disasters in my area, so are these mitigation grants still available?

PDM, FMA, RFC, and SRL are funded by Congress—they are not disaster dependent. FEMA’s largest mitigation grant program, HMGP, is available when authorized under the Presidential major disaster declaration.

Insure Your Risk – The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

Participation in the National Flood Insurance Program

When a community chooses to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, an agreement is made between the local community and the federal government that states, the community will adopt and enforce a floodplain management ordinance that meet or exceeds the minimum requirements of the NFIP. Engineers, surveyors and architects provide essential resources to the community to assist this effort by providing their expertise in hydrology, hydraulics, elevation data and structure design.

Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) is a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program that helps communities assess their flood risks and encourage mitigation planning. FEMA works with state and local officials to effectively communicate flood risk to members of the community and create mitigation plans that reduce risk. This partnership also facilitates the mapping process, which helps communities understand where there is greater risk due to flooding. The goal is to increase risk awareness before a disaster occurs and reduce impacts to life and property.

When a community receives new Flood Insurance Rate Maps, or FIRMs, many home and business owners have questions if their structures are now shown in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). It is important to understand the effects of flood hazard area changes. Community officials can offer guidance to affected citizens. As preliminary FIRMs are available for communities, an interactive mapping tool will allow federal, state and local agency officials, as well as other stakeholders, the ability to view them on this website.

Financially Protect Your Investment

FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) provide the public with reliable information about flood risk, vulnerabilities and hazards so the public may make informed decisions about reducing their risk and taking actions to financially protect their investment. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires local governments to adopt the Flood Insurance Rate Maps so that property owners within their communities can access information about risk levels and purchase or maintain federally backed flood insurance policies to address their risk. The NFIP provides flood insurance in more than 21,000 communities nationwide who agree to adopt and enforce floodplain management requirements and standards. The average cost of a flood policy is around $600 a year. In moderate- to low flood-risk areas, coverage can start at just $129 a year.

Communicate Effectively about Risk

Social Media and Outreach – sharing risk information within communities

Social Media has become a low cost, highly effective communication tool for individuals and communities. Using programs such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and YouTube, communities have the opportunity to reach a broader and more diverse audience in their communities.

How can this be done?

Communities can set up their own FaceBook Page, Twitter account or YouTube Channel, for example. Users of riskmap6.com can link to our site through the social media sites found on our home page. FEMA Region 6 currently uses the following social media to reach out to impacted communities: http://twitter.com/femaregion6 and http://blog.fema.gov.

Other effective Outreach for sharing risk information

  • Communities can also use their existing websites to get the message out to residents and business owners to “know their risk.” This information can be shared through a link to this site or by downloading resources from our site.
  • Contact your local Floodplain administrator for more information on flood risk in your area. Share this information with your neighbors.
  • Consider utilizing community meetings and newsletters, local websites, community events, local stores and public buildings such as Chambers of Commerce and Libraries for distributing flood risk information. Building understand of the local flood risk in your community can inspire citizens to take actions to reduce that risk.

Resources and Links