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FEMA Case Study Library

Browse case study reports and best practice articles from across FEMA's areas of expertise. You can search by title or keywords, select additional content filters, or jump to a collection.

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Preparedness Grant Effectiveness Case Study: St. Louis

In 2019, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a grant effectiveness case study in New York City, NY to understand how the city uses preparedness funds to increase its ability to prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks.

Mapping the Risk Reduction Benefits of Coral Reef Conservation

The Hazus Team worked with the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force to map coastal flood losses avoided due to coral reef protection across Hawaii. Results from this project can help guide future nature-based mitigation initiatives.

University Resources Produce Risk Reduction Tools

Universities are not required to complete hazard mitigation plans. Most do not, instead relying on and participating in their local jurisdiction or county plan. The county hazard mitigation plan covers a broad geographic area and did not have the level of detail needed to take all the university associated risks into account. East Tennessee State University (ETSU) is like a small city with unique risks and vulnerabilities, which are spread out among several smaller ancillary campuses in different jurisdictions. Andrew Worley, the university’s emergency management specialist, explained that “we felt that there were specific needs and concerns about a university campus that may not apply to cities and counties.” For example, the university maintains its own critical facilities, such as its emergency operations center, food services, power plant and telecommunications buildings.

Implementing the Limit of Moderate Wave Action in Coastal Communities

Coastal communities face a range of flooding hazards that include storm surge, waves and erosion—all of which can severely damage homes, businesses and infrastructure. Waves, in particular, can damage properties located farther inland than one would expect. Some communities use the Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LiMWA) to inform the adoption of higher building codes and standards in areas vulnerable to waves.

West Virginia Flood Tool

Challenge: To provide public access to flood data to enable users to make informed decisions about the degree of risk for their area or property.

Texas A&M University Helps Stakeholders Plan for Future Flood Risk

Challenge: Community planning is successful when there is extensive citizen involvement and participation throughout the process. However, many community planning tools and resources are either inaccessible or too technical for many stakeholders.

Utilizing Comprehensive Plans to Bring Awareness to Flood Risk

Challenge: Comprehensive plans are required by the State of Nebraska to provide objectives, goals, and policies for and by the community. The objective of a comprehensive plan is to act as a visionary document which aligns zoning ordinances with community practices in development with consideration to social, economic and environmental factors specific to the community.

Resources to Understand Debris Flows

Challenge: Areas recently affected by wildfires are particularly susceptible to debris flows during rainstorms. It is important to provide debris flow information so that communities recovering from wildfire are aware of the added risks.

Missouri State Emergency Management Agency: Promoting Higher Standards with Freeboard Mapping

Challenge: The Base Flood Elevation (BFE), or how high floodwater is likely to rise during a 1%-annual-chance flood event, is one way to measure flood risk. However, there are many factors that can cause flood waters to rise above the BFE such as debris-blocked bridge and culvert openings, city sewer storm drain blockage and development in the floodplain.

Base Level Engineering and Enhanced Outreach Brings Flood Risk Information to North Dakotans

Challenge: Despite significant flood risk, roughly two-thirds of North Dakota had no FEMA flood risk data. Without data, many small cities and the rural population were left with little information to base their local floodplain management regulations and decisions.