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Risk-Management, Resilience, and Emergency Preparedness


In Tennessee, all communities are required to submit hazard mitigation plans to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) in order to qualify for specific funds, such as pre-disaster mitigation funding. Other funding opportunities may require risk-management planning, emergency preparedness planning, or other disaster planning.

Does your community already have plans in place? If so, this is a natural launching point for integrating resilience and sustainability considerations into your plans to increase the positive effect of those plans.

Is your community ready to develop risk-management or hazard mitigation plans? We have some great resources to inform your planning process: from baseline assessment tools to evaluate your community’s risks in the face of extreme climate events to sample hazard mitigation plans, following TEMA guidance.

Taking a holistic approach to risk-management, resilience, and emergency planning allows your community to use the same dollars more effectively – saving your community money and giving your community the better opportunity to bounce back from disasters.

Hazard Mitigation Plan Guidance from TEMA 

  • Sample Hazard Mitigation Plan

Identifying Risk: Use the tools below to perform risk assessments for your community.

  • Climate Resilience Evaluation & Awareness Tool (CREAT)
    • Developer: EPA
    • Cost: Free
    • Description: This tool allows communities to identify the extreme weather events that pose challenges to utilities, identify critical assets, develop strategies to protect critical assets, and evaluate costs and benefits of risk reduction strategies.
  • Flood Resilience: A Basic Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities
    • Developer: EPA
    • Cost: Free
    • Description: EPA provides a range of tools to support water and wastewater utilities in performing risk assessments, planning for emergencies, responding to emergent situations, and providing messaging to stakeholders.
    • Developer: FEMA
    • Cost: Free
    • Description: Hazus is a nationally applicable standardized methodology that contains models for estimating potential losses from earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes. Hazus uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to estimate physical, economic, and social impacts of disasters. It graphically illustrates the limits of identified high-risk locations due to earthquakehurricaneflood, and tsunami. Users can then visualize the spatial relationships between populations and other more permanently fixed geographic assets or resources for the specific hazard being modeled, a crucial function in the pre-disaster planning process.
  • Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning 
    • Developer: FEMA
    • Cost: Free
    • Description: This resource allows the user to identify flood risk in a community and promote informed planning and development to reduce those risks.
  • Understanding Your Risks: Identifying Hazards and Estimating Losses
    • Developer: FEMA
    • Cost: Free
    • Description: This resource provides step-by-step guidance in performing a risk assessment for multiple hazards: flood, earthquake, tsunami, tornado, coastal storm, landslide and wildfire hazards. For communities dealing with multiple hazards, guidance is also provided on how to develop a composite loss estimate. Once the risk assessment is completed, local officials will have the information necessary to develop a strategy and plan for reducing their losses.
  • Infrastructure Survey Tool
    • Developer: Department of Homeland Security
    • Cost: Free
    • Description: This tool is a web-based security survey conducted by Protective Security Advisors with facility owners and operators after an Assist Visit is completed to identify and document the security and resilience of the facility.

Scope Your Partners: coordinate with local, regional, state, and federal groups to build your resiliency capacity and response.

  • Tennessee has nine Development Districts which support their communities with growth and development planning, transportation, economic development, and related issues including identifying financial resources to address community concerns and, in some cases, assistance in applying for grants and loans. Reach out to your local development district to find out which resources are available in your area.
  • RAND Corporation’s ENGAGED toolkit Is a free resource that supports communities in bringing together NGOs to support capacity and capability during disaster response and recovery. The PRACTIS Toolkit supports disaster recovery partnerships between local health departments and community-based organizations.
  • RAND Corporation’s LEARN and TELL toolkit allows community members to teach each other how to be resilient during challenging times, while the Disaster Reliance Skills for Youth introduces community resiliency to high school aged students.

Developing a Plan: use the resources below to develop plans to address your risks.

  • Develop a Hazard Mitigation Plan:
    • Develop a Hazard Mitigation Plan for your community to build its resiliency.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides extensive resources, including local government handbook and hazard mitigation grant funding to support communities. FEMA has found that every $1 spent in hazard mitigation saves $4 in spending after the hazard occurs.
    • The American Planning Association’s Hazard Planning Center provides a host of resources to support communities in performing general hazard planning as well as planning to address specific threats, such as drought or tree disease.
  • Integrate resiliency and sustainability into your hazard mitigation plan and local planning efforts:
  • Bolster your Emergency Communications:
    • Appalachia Regional Council provides grants to support wi-fi expansion in rural areas.  Check the status of that grant here.
    • Department of Homeland Security supports all levels of government in providing emergency communications.  See their website
    • FEMA utilizes and supports the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), which can be used by local authorities. FEMA also provides free online training for utilizing the IPAWS system; find trainings and additional information here.



Jennifer Tribble