Disaster Mitigation is the cornerstone of emergency management. It’s the ongoing effort to lessen the impact disasters have on people and property. Mitigation involves keeping homes away from floodplains, engineering bridges to withstand earthquakes, creating and enforcing effective building codes to protect property from hurricanes, and more.
Mitigation is defined as “sustained action that reduces or eliminates long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects.” It describes the ongoing effort at the federal, state, local and individual levels to lessen the impact of disasters upon our families, homes, communities and economy.
How Disaster Mitigation can help you
Through the application of mitigation technologies and practices, our society can ensure that fewer Americans and their communities become victims of natural disasters. For example, mitigation measures can be applied to strengthen your home, so that your family and belongings are better protected from floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural hazards. They can be utilized to help business and industry to avoid damage to their facilities and remain operational in the face of catastrophe. Mitigation technologies can be used to strengthen hospitals, fire stations, and other critical service facilities so that they can remain operational or reopen more quickly after an event. In addition, mitigation measures can help reduce disaster losses and suffering so that there is less demand for money and resources in the aftermath.
In practice, mitigation can take many forms. It can involve actions such as:
- Promoting sound land use planning based on known hazards
- Buying flood insurance to protect your belongings
- Relocating or elevating structures out of the floodplains
- Securing shelves and water heaters to nearby walls.
- Having hurricane straps installed to more securely attach a structure’s roof to its walls and foundation.
- Developing, adopting, and enforcing effective building codes and standards
- Engineering roads and bridges to withstand earthquakes
- Using fire-retardant materials in new construction
- Developing and implementing a plan in your business or community to reduce your susceptibility to hazards