What We Do
FIMA manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and a range of programs designed to reduce future losses to homes, businesses, schools, public buildings, and critical facilities from floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters.
Mitigation focuses on breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. Mitigation efforts provide value to the American people by creating safer communities and reducing loss of life and property. Mitigation includes such activities as:
- Complying with or exceeding NFIP floodplain management regulations.
- Enforcing stringent building codes, flood-proofing requirements, seismic design standards, and wind-bracing requirements for new construction or repairing existing buildings.
- Adopting zoning ordinances that steer development away from areas subject to flooding, storm surge or coastal erosion.
- Retrofitting public buildings to withstand hurricane-strength winds or ground shaking.
- Acquiring damaged homes or businesses in flood-prone areas, relocating the structures, and returning the property to open space, wetlands or recreational uses.
- Building community shelters and tornado safe rooms to help protect people in their homes, public buildings and schools in hurricane- and tornado-prone areas.
Mitigation’s Value to Society
- Mitigation creates safer communities by reducing losses of life and property.
- Mitigation enables individuals and communities to recover more rapidly from disasters.
- Mitigation lessens the financial impact of disasters on individuals, the Treasury, State, local and Tribal communities.
Who We Are
Hazard Mitigation is sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and their property from hazards and their effects.
FIMA was established on November 29, 1993. At that time, Mitigation became the cornerstone of emergency management, for the first time in the history of federal disaster assistance. The mission of the agency has shifted significantly since 1993, most notably through the creation of a separate and distinct group. FIMA's partners include a broad spectrum of stakeholders in federal, state, tribal and local government, and the private sector. Partners also include professional associations and non-governmental groups involved in public policy and administration, insurance, higher education, the building sciences, and urban planning.
FIMA is comprised of three divisions: Risk Analysis, Risk Reduction and Risk Insurance.
The primary functions of these divisions include:
- The Risk Analysis Division applies engineering and planning practices in conjunction with advanced technology tools to identify hazards, assess vulnerabilities, and develop strategies to manage the risks associated with natural hazards.
- The Risk Reduction Division works to reduce risk to life and property through the use of land use controls, building practices, and other tools. These activities address risk in both the existing built environment and in future development, and they occur in both pre- and post-disaster environments.
- The Risk Insurance Division helps reduce flood losses by providing affordable flood insurance for property owners and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations that mitigate the effects of flooding on new and improved structures.
FIMA's programs are significant components of the Nation's emergency management system. The statutorily authorized programs include:
- Risk Analysis Division
- Risk Reduction Division
- Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)
- Flood Mitigation Assistance Program (FMA)
- Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM)
- Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL)
- Repetitive Flood Claims (RFC)
- Community Rating System (CRS)
- National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP)
- Building Science
- Floodplain Management and Community Assistance Program
- Risk Insurance Division
The Office of Environmental Planning & Historic Preservation provides management and oversight to all FEMA programs in their compliance with environmental planning and historic preservation laws, executive orders and regulations.
FEMA is pleased to announce the release of publication FEMA P-908, Mitigation Assessment Team Report – Spring 2011 Tornadoes: April 25-28 and May 22; Building Performance Observations, Recommendations, and Technical Guidance (May 2012).
This Spring 2011 Tornado MAT Report is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the April 25–28, 2011 tornadoes in the southeastern United States and the May 22, 2011 tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri. This report is also dedicated to the families, friends, and communities suffering from their loss.
In response to this devastation, the FEMA Building Science Branch of the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA) deployed a Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) to Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee on May 6, 2011 to assess the damage caused by tornadoes occurring April 25 through April 28, 2011. Less than a month later, a powerful 0.75-mile-wide tornado struck Joplin, MO, destroying thousands of homes; FEMA once again deployed the MAT, on June 1, 2011, to assess the tornado damage in Joplin.
The report sets forth the MAT performance assessments of structures affected by the tornadoes, investigations of safe room and storm shelter performance, and documented lessons learned to help mitigate the loss of life and damage to buildings from future tornado events.
The MAT report is a compilation of input from a team of over 200 design and construction experts from various industry groups, academic institutions, non-profit associations, government agencies, and small businesses.
FEMA P-908 presents the MAT observations with 47 conclusions, and 49 recommendations directed at improving public safety and building performance during tornado events. The MAT report focuses primarily on the performance of the following types of construction:
- Residential buildings
- Industrial and commercial buildings
- Critical facilities
- Safe rooms
The conclusions and hundreds of photos presented in FEMA P-908 stem from core needs to:
- Adopt and implement current model building codes
- Build safe rooms
- Identify best-available tornado refuge areas in the absence of a safe room, storm shelter, or hardened area
Key recommendations include proposed changes to building codes, assessments of all new and existing critical facilities for use as tornado refuge areas, proposed protections to schools and further study into the behavior of individuals seeking refuge during tornadoes.