Mitigation is any step taken to reduce the likelihood of a disaster occurring or, in the event a disaster cannot be prevented, lessening its impact. A good example of mitigation is the relocation of houses out of flood-prone areas. Mitigation has become firmly cemented in state and federal disaster programs over the past few years, primarily due to the overwhelming success of mitigation activities nationwide.
Another definition for mitigation is 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.
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 avoid damages 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
You can learn more about mitigation by viewing FEMA's web site on Mitigation; however, state-specific information is contained in this webpage and its counterpart links noted in the sidebar. The major areas are Mitigation Planning, Mitigation Grant Programs, Mitigation Grant Assistance, Project Impact, and Publications. Within these sections, you will find what types of assistance is available, how to apply, how to manage awarded funds, etc.