Given the frequency and severity of recent natural disasters, everyone, regardless of where they are, is seeing the adverse effects of climate change. And while no one can prevent extreme weather events, including flooding, wildfires, and tornadoes, they can reduce the impact on their community. As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) strongly emphasizes, this is best achieved through hazard mitigation planning. 

Accordingly, FEMA issued an updated policy on December 7, 2022, to partially implement the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) for Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) programs to align with Executive Order 14030-Climate-Related Financial Risk

The updated policy, which supersedes the interim one issued in August 2022, will help ensure communities affected by flood disasters are less vulnerable to the loss of life and property and reduce the impacts of a changing environment. It specifically addresses elevating and floodproofing requirements for structures using HMA funding and sets standards for critical actions to make structures, e.g., hospitals, nursing homes, and emergency operations centers (aka EOCs), more resilient. It also sets standards for non-critical actions for structures, e.g., homes and businesses, in high-risk flood areas. 

Equally as necessary, the policy update pertains to the hazard of wildfires. It applies to any major disaster or Fire Management Assistance (FMA) declarations made on or after December 7, 2022, as well as all Fiscal Year 2023 funding opportunities and future application cycles (unless otherwise stated in the funding opportunity). 

At BOLDplanning, a division of Agility, we encourage you to learn more about FEMA’s updated policy and how it can help your community better protect its people, property, and assets in a disaster. And if you need help developing (or updating) your hazard mitigation plan, our skilled and experienced team can assist. Email info@BOLDplanning.com to learn more today.

Special Note: Hazard mitigation plans must be updated every five years to remain eligible for certain disaster funding. Presently, more than 30 states will need to update their plans next year. New policies for plan approval by FEMA will take effect on April 19, 2023

The updated policies, previously known as the “Plan Review Guides,” have been renamed