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Hazard Mitigation Planning

This page introduces hazard mitigation planning and describes its benefits. The intended audience is state, tribal, and local officials and members of the public interested in hazard mitigation planning.

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Hazard mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. 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.

Developing hazard mitigation plans enables state, tribal, and local governments to:

  • Increase education and awareness around threats, hazards, and vulnerabilities;
  • Build partnerships for risk reduction involving government, organizations, businesses, and the public;
  • Identify long-term, broadly-supported strategies for risk reduction;
  • Align risk reduction with other state, tribal, or community objectives;
  • Identify implementation approaches that focus resources on the greatest risks and vulnerabilities; and
  • Communicate priorities to potential sources of funding.

Moreover, a FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plan is a condition for receiving certain types of non-emergency disaster assistance, including funding for mitigation projects. Ultimately, hazard mitigation planning enables action to reduce loss of life and property, lessening the impact of disasters.

This page outlines new guidance resources, news, and events related to hazard mitigation planning. The intended audiences for this page include hazard mitigation planners, emergency management professionals, as well as state, tribal, and local officials.

Hazard Mitigation Planning News and Events

October is National Community Planning Month

FEMA is celebrating National Community Planning Month this October, recognizing that communities who plan with citizen’s safety in mind are more resilient and better prepared to face disasters. A good first step in building in safety considerations into a community is by connecting community planning with mitigation planning. Mitigation is most effective when it is coordinated with other plans, processes, policies and decisions.

Mitigation is most effective when it is coordinated with other plans, processes, policies and decisions and is most effective when it is part of a long-term strategy. Effective integration of hazard mitigation occurs when your community’s planning decisions lead to development or risk reduction patterns that do not increase risks from known hazards.

By integrating mitigation plans with community planners can create safer, more sustainable neighborhoods. Planners can also encourage creative design proposals that avoid or minimize exposure to hazards through regulations, for example through subdivision regulations. Further, by promoting safe growth principles, community planners can protect citizens from the impacts of natural hazards.

Free Webinar October 29, 2019: Land Use Solutions for Drought and Cascading Impacts

In cooperation with the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), FEMA partner American Planning Association (APA) is presenting the third in a series of webinars on the subject of drought mitigation planning in a multi-hazard context.

This webinar features a discussion by Shannon Burke, APA’s Hazards Planning Manager, and Anne Miller, AICP, Director of the Colorado Resiliency Office (CRO) in the Department of Local Affairs. Participants will learn about:

  • Drought and the interrelatedness of hazards
  • How planners can address drought
  • State and local efforts to integrate resilience and hazard mitigation principles into plans, codes, and standards related to land use and the built environment

Learn more or sign up to participate here:





FEMA Launches New Training on State Hazard Mitigation Planning 

State hazard mitigation plans are long-term blueprints for reducing natural hazard risk. These plans engage a diverse group of stakeholders and partners across the State government, non-profits, and private industry. In the 2015 State Mitigation Plan Review Guide, FEMA clarified that stakeholders from the seven sectors in the National Mitigation Framework needed to be engaged in the planning process. FEMA developed a new training product to provide the seven sectors as well as State agency staff an understanding of the policies and procedures required for State hazard mitigation plans.

This course is a self-paced independent study hosted by the Emergency Management Institute. It addresses both standard and enhanced State mitigation planning. A follow-up companion training, L-329: State Mitigation Planning Workshop, will be an instructor-led course that provides methods and approaches for State mitigation planning. For more information, contact

Mitigation Plan Requirement for the New High Hazard Potential Dams Grant Program 

FEMA recently launched the Rehabilitation of High Hazard Potential Dams (HHPD) Grant Program.  The HHPD Grant Program, administered by the National Dam Safety Program (NDSP), provides technical, planning, design, and construction assistance in the form of grants to non-Federal governmental organizations or nonprofit organizations for rehabilitation of eligible high hazard potential dams. To be eligible to receive funding,  the state as applicant and any local governments as subapplicants must “have in place a hazard mitigation plan that includes all dam risks and complies with the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-390, 114 Stat. 1552).” More information can be found in the Rehabilitation of High Hazard Potential Dams (HHPD) Grant Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (NoFO).

FEMA Releases Tribal Mitigation Planning Handbook

The National Mitigation Planning Program recently released the Tribal Mitigation Planning Handbook (Tribal Handbook). The Tribal Handbook is a tool for Tribal governments to use as they develop and implement their hazard mitigation plans. The Handbook provides practical approaches, resources, worksheets, and advice for Tribal governments in the mitigation planning process.

The Tribal Handbook is organized around the seven recommended steps for developing a Tribal mitigation plan. It begins with an overview of the planning process, then reviews each step of the process in more detail. Finally, the Tribal Handbook provides considerations for how to implement the mitigation plan, advance mitigation activities, and incorporate risk reduction into other Tribal plans and programs. Appendices with resources and worksheets are also included.

The Tribal Handbook is a companion to the Tribal Mitigation Review Guide (December 2018), which is FEMA’s official interpretation of the Tribal mitigation planning regulations at 44 CFR 201.7.

Mitigation Planning Program Resource List

The Mitigation Planning Program Resource List is available as a resource for state, local, and tribal governments that engage in mitigation planning to help identify risks associated with natural disasters and to 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. This list provides communities resources to help guide the development and implementation of their hazard mitigation plans. 

Additional Information

Please visit the Hazard Mitigation Assistance page for more information on funding available for mitigation plan development and mitigation projects.

Last Updated: 
10/16/2019 - 14:10