This page identifies resources for complex issues that impact the HMGP process. Examples of topic areas include: Advance Assistance, Environmental Planning and Historical Preservation (EHP), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and training.
Hazard Mitigation Planning
The primary purpose of mitigation planning is to identify community policies, actions, and tools that will result in a community-wide reduction in risk of future losses. This is accomplished by understanding the risks and vulnerabilities of the community, setting clear goals, and following through with an effective mitigation strategy. The strategy proposes actions that the community will implement, making optimal use of limited resources.
The mitigation strategy section of the plan assigns responsibility for implementing the various actions, defines the implementation time period for each action, and identifies potential sources of funding (federal, state, tribal, territorial, local, or private) to support each action. Project-specific details, such as location, design, and costs are generally not included in the hazard mitigation plan. The detailed explanation of how a project will be accomplished is presented in the project scope of work, which is the key component of an application for grant funding.
Hazard mitigation is any action taken to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from natural hazards. It is most effective when implemented under a comprehensive long-term mitigation plan. State, tribal, and local governments engage in hazard mitigation planning to identify risks and vulnerabilities associated with natural disasters and develop long-term strategies for protecting people and property from future hazard events. Mitigation plans are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage.
- Hazard Mitigation Planning Process – Describes the process to complete a hazard mitigation plan.
- Mitigation Planning How-To Series – Includes 12 “How-To” steps and tools for preparing your mitigation projects.
- Mitigation Ideas: A Resource for Reducing Risk to Natural Hazards (2013) – Provides information that communities can use to identify and evaluate a range of potential mitigation actions for reducing risk from natural hazards and disasters.
- External Hazard Mitigation Planning Resource – Provides best practices in local mitigation planning.
- Fact Sheet: Integrating Mitigation into the Local Comprehensive Plan
- Fact Sheet: The Role of Local Leadership
- Fact Sheet: Social and Economic Benefits
- Fact Sheet: Planning for Post-Disaster Redevelopment
- Fact Sheet: Protecting Community Infrastructure
HMGP Appeals Database
The HMGP Appeals Database is an online, searchable database containing FEMA responses to applicant appeals for assistance. The database houses Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) second appeal records since 1988 and first level appeals since 2011. The purpose of the database is to inform the public on how program requirements are applied.
For more information on the terms used in the HMGP Appeals Database, reference the Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program Digest for a brief summary of the basic program elements.
Program Administration by States
Program Administration by States (PAS) is a program that was established to create a more streamlined grant approval process, allowing communities to get the hazard mitigation funds they need faster. Under PAS, FEMA can delegate one or a combination of the following activities and subtasks to states and Federally-recognized tribes:
- Application review
- Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) review
- Grant management
- Fiscal management
- Mitigation planning
Available resources include:
- Program Administration by States Pilot, Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
- Program Administration by States (PAS) Pilot – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Advance Assistance (AA) is authorized by the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act, which allows advancing up to 25 percent of the HMGP ceiling or $10 million to applicants and subapplicants, whichever is less. The purpose of AA is to provide states, Federally-recognized tribes, and territories with resources to develop mitigation strategies and obtain data to prioritize, select, and develop complete HMGP applications in a timely manner. FEMA expects applicants and subapplicants that receive AA to submit complete project applications up to or over the HMGP ceiling by the application deadline.
FEMA will continue to implement AA on a pilot basis for any state, Federally-recognized tribe, or territory having a declaration with an open application period. AA is not automatic. States and Federally-recognized tribes may request AA by submitting an HMGP application form to the Regional Mitigation Division. The application must identify the proposed use of the funds, including costs in sufficient detail for each proposed activity, and milestones for submitting completed HMGP applications to FEMA. AA is subject to the HMGP cost-share requirements and
For more information on Advance Assistance please visit the Advance Assistance documents on the FEMA library.
The Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) program consists of guidelines, methodologies, and software modules for a range of major natural hazards, including:
- Flood (Riverine, Coastal A Zone, Coastal V Zone)
- Hurricane Wind
- Hurricane Safe Room
- Damage-Frequency Assessment
- Tornado Safe Room
The BCA program provides up-to-date program data, up-to-date default and standard values, user manuals, and training. Overall, the program makes it easier for users and evaluators to conduct and review BCAs and to address multiple buildings and hazards in a single BCA module run.
Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation
The Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation (EHP) program integrates the protection and enhancement of environmental, historic, and cultural resources into FEMA’s mission, programs, and activities; ensures that FEMA’s activities and programs related to disaster response and recovery, hazard mitigation, and emergency preparedness comply with federal environmental and historic preservation laws and executive orders; and provides environmental and historic preservation technical assistance to FEMA staff; federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local partners; and recipients and subrecipients.
Building Science Branch
The FEMA Building Science Branch provides technical services for the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA). The branch develops and produces multi-hazard mitigation guidance that focuses on creating disaster-resilient communities to reduce loss of life and property. Building Science takes a lead role in developing publications, guidance materials, tools, technical bulletins, and recovery advisories that incorporate the most up-to-date building codes, floodproofing requirements, seismic design standards, and wind design requirements for new construction and the repair of existing buildings. In addition to providing technical support for the development and adoption of model building codes and standards, the Building Science Branch provides technical support for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for public and private sector stakeholders, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), and the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP) and is pursuing outreach strategies for communicating building science issues.
Geographic Information Systems
Geographic Information System (GIS) is a tool that allows information to be associated with a place. GIS integrates five key components: hardware, software, data, people, and methods. GIS can display, store, and analyze data, and store and display results of any analysis performed.
Survivors of a disaster require timely, efficient, and effective access to information about the state’s health and natural and manmade resources. Geospatial technology infrastructure, tools, and services provide Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) applicants rapid analysis for policy evaluation and decision-making. GIS links maps and databases to produce graphical layers that can help communities organize their resources (e.g., first responders, shelters, infrastructure development, funding) to develop effective mitigation strategies.
GIS training is available through FEMA’s Emergency Management Training Institute. Course IS-922 is focused on Applications of GIS for Emergency Management.
New GIS informational tools have been developed. The FEMA HMA GIS User Guide provides a primer on ways that GIS technology can be used in a HMA context.
The GIS Storymap (Esri) is an interactive Map Journal that displays GIS base data layers in ways that describes important elements of the hazard mitigation grant lifecycle (e.g., project scoping and the value of loss avoidance studies).
Resilience Mitigation Assistance
Aquifer storage and recovery, floodplain and stream restoration, flood diversion and storage, and green infrastructure methods are eligible under the HMA programs to support communities in reducing the risks associated with mitigating the impacts of flood and drought conditions.
Multiple tools have been developed to assist with the development of these activities, including fact sheets, BCA guidance, and job aids to help development of HMA applications. For more information, visit the Mitigating Flood and Drought Conditions under Hazard Mitigation Assistance webpage.
The Hazard Mitigation Planning Training page lists available FEMA training courses that focus on hazard mitigation planning topics. Currently, the page focuses on planning, plan review, and risk assessment.
Additional FEMA training is available through FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute.