Protecting Yourself Through Mitigation

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Like many other people, the residents of Merkel, Texas didn't think much about flooding. Besides, it had not flooded in Merkel in the past 45 years. It wasn't until the heavy rains in the summer of 2007 did residents find out that flooding can hit anyone-at any time. After the flooding finally subsided, officials knew they had to do something: mitigate. Read more about what the residents of Merkel did.  

What is "mitigation"? I keep hearing it, and it sounds technical.

Mitigation is defined as the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. It is a strategy for being prepared. When your local government says they are working to mitigate a future flood, for example, some projects could include updating the municipal storm drain system or working to keep the local waterways from overflowing its banks. Read more about how mitigation works for you.

What kind of disasters can be mitigated against?

  • Floods
  • Hurricanes  
  • Earthquakes  
  • Wildfires
  • Tornadoes
  • Winter Storms
Visit Ready.gov for more information about these disasters.
 

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Mitigation sounds complicated. I wouldn't know what to do.

The Peters' home shown across the street from a neighboring home destroyed by the fire.To get started, find out more about the common hazards in your area. Next, find out what kind damages that hazard can create. From there, look for resources that can help you protect yourself and your home.

In an area susceptible to wildfires, Herb Peters of San Diego, California placed ice plants on three sides of his Rancho Bernardo home, saving himself more than $250,000 in rebuilding costs after wildfires ravaged his neighborhood in 2007. Read more about what Herb Peters did to protect his home.

How can I keep my family and home safe?

I've already been hit by a disaster. What should I do now?

Call the FEMA Disaster Hotline and register: 

Toll-free at 1 (800) 621-3362 or
TTY 1 (800) 462-7585, for the speech or hearing impaired
Or register online for disaster assistance.

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How much money do I have to spend to mitigate?

Graphic of savingsIt all depends on the kind of mitigation itself. For example, the cost of elevating a home several feet above the ground in Louisiana may not be the same as elevating a home in Missouri. However, even the smallest mitigation actions have overwhelming effects. Mitigation saves society an average of $4 saved for every $1 spent! Click here to read the "Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: An Independent Study to Assess the Future Savings from Mitigation Activities" report.

Is there financial assistance I can get?

FEMA offers several types of grants and financial-assistance programs for individuals and local governments.

Where can I find mitigation resources in my community?

Your State or local government has resources and contacts available to help you. Get in touch with your local floodplain or building official to see how mitigation works for you.

The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) is an organization of professionals involved in floodplain management, flood hazard mitigation, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and flood preparedness, warning and recovery.

Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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