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The New Frontier of Pre-Disaster Mitigation

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The following message is from Katherine Fox, Assistant Administrator for the Mitigation Directorate in FEMA’s Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration.

Like many parents, I’m trying to navigate the challenging balance between work and family needs in this new telework environment. It’s fun to watch my son build things with Legos when not in virtual second grade. It struck me recently that the work FEMA is doing to build a more resilient nation is for his and future generations. This is what drives my passion and dedication to promoting risk reduction programs across the nation in my role at FEMA.

Early in August, we hit an important milestone when we announced the Fiscal Year 2020 Notice of Funding Opportunities for the Flood Mitigation Assistance grant program and the new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) pre-disaster mitigation grant program. This year, FEMA will award up to $660 million in grant funding, including a record-breaking $500 million available for BRIC and $160 million for Flood Mitigation Assistance.

These two competitive grant programs provide states, communities, tribes and territories funding for eligible mitigation activities to reduce the risks and the impact of future disasters. When the application period for these two grants opens on Sept. 30, extensive preparation and collective efforts by many helped meet this milestone, especially for the BRIC program.

Over the last two years, we hosted stakeholder engagements which were one of the agency’s largest efforts both in-person and online. We considered nearly 5,500 individual comments about how to design the program and what to emphasize.  After a thorough analysis, we drafted a policy, developed extensive program content, and hosted a series of webinars to introduce BRIC concepts and to provide an overview of the Notices of Funding Opportunities.  In addition, we now have a robust library of readily accessible support materials to submit an application for a BRIC and Flood Mitigation Assistance grants, including dozens of project examples.

The new BRIC program will also provide direct technical assistance to improve capacity and capability for up to 10 communities to conduct mitigation activities or identify potential projects to reduce risk. And we did all that while working closely with FEMA’s Grant Programs Directorate to develop a new application process through the FEMA Grant Outcomes (FEMA GO) system.

As emergency managers, we have experienced firsthand the dramatic increase in the number of disasters and the devastating impact across our nation. Investing in mitigation – through BRIC and Flood Mitigation Assistance, along with emphasizing opportunities in the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the Public Assistance 406 Mitigation program – is critical to achieving FEMA’s mission.

Together, we have a game-changing opportunity to move mitigation forward and enhance the nation’s resilience to disasters. To learn more, visit the FEMA Website.

Last updated March 17, 2021