Is it Time to Revisit Your Hazard Mitigation Plan?
If the plan is more than three years old, the answer is a resounding yes. And for two very good reasons: Funding and Time.
First, funding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires Hazard Mitigation Plans (HMPs) to be updated every five years. That is, if state, local, tribal, and territorial governments want to remain eligible to receive certain, non-emergency funding to support mitigation projects, such as safe rooms and tornado sirens. Sources of such federal funding include the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), the Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Grant Program, and the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Grant Program.
Second, time. The process for updating a HMP is long, often taking even the most seasoned of planners months to complete. While a previous plan exists, there is still much research to be done, public meetings to be held, maps to be created or collected, etc. Then, there’s the wait to get the necessary plan approvals. And given the COVID-19 pandemic, state and FEMA approval of HMPs may come even slower.
Don’t let time get away from you or your current HMP expire. Consider developing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for an update to your plan as soon as it’s feasible. Your community is going to get past the coronavirus and will inevitably continue to face other, more common hazards, such as flooding, winter storms, and wildfires, in the years ahead.