FEMA and its Federal partners have programs, resources, and tools to enhance hazard mitigation. This page describes programs that work with State, local, and Tribal planning processes and help reduce risk.
Floodplain Management through the National Flood Insurance Program and Community Rating System
Floodplain management is a mitigation tactic State and local governments use to reduce flood risk proactively. It includes requirements for codes and ordinances that prevent flood damage. FEMA has minimum floodplain management standards, but floodplain management is more effective when regulations are written and enforced to a higher, safer standard. The Higher Floodplain Management Standards and Freeboard Fact Sheets explain why standards are a valuable part of community planning. FEMA’s floodplain management publications provide more information on floodplain management.
Floodplain management regulations are adopted, enacted, and enforced as part of a community’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP reduces the impact of flooding on private and public buildings by providing affordable insurance and promoting sustainable development. Over 20,500 communities and more than 5.6 million Americans protect their homes, families, and businesses from financial losses during flood events through the NFIP. To determine whether your community participates in the NFIP, visit the NFIP Community Status Book.
The NFIP’s Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that go beyond the minimum requirements. Communities earn “activity points” for advanced public information, mapping and regulations, flood damage reduction, and flood preparedness activities. In exchange, communities can receive up to 45‑percent premium discounts.
The CRS program can work with with hazard mitigation and local planning. Using the CRS program and hazard mitigation planning together leads to:
- A better mitigation plan and more effective mitigation projects;
- Eligibility for FEMA mitigation grants to help fund projects recommended in the plan;
- Activity points that can reduce flood insurance premiums in CRS communities; and
- Exposing more communities to the CRS program and its flood insurance benefits.
The Hazard Mitigation Planning and the CRS Key Topics Bulletin makes it easier for communities to align both programs.
Protecting the Built Environment through Building Sciences
FEMA’s Building Science Branch provides technical services that create resilient communities through the design of buildings. Building Science develops resources, tools, and technical information that help communities build safer and stronger. The branch also supports the development of disaster-resilient building codes. Visit the Building Science Publications for more information.
Protecting Historic Property and Cultural Resources
Whether a disaster impacts a community museum, a "main street," or just family photographs, the sudden loss of historic properties and cultural resources can hurt a community's character and economy. It can also affect the community’s ability to recover from a disaster. Integrating Historic Property and Cultural Resource Considerations into Hazard Mitigation Planning (2005) shows communities how to make and carry out a pre-disaster planning strategy for historic properties and cultural resources.
Mitigation Grant Programs
FEMA requires State, Tribal, and local governments to develop and adopt hazard mitigation plans as a condition for receiving certain types of non-emergency disaster. These grants support State, local, and Tribal mitigation actions. Visit the main Hazard Mitigation Plan Requirement page for more information on plan requirements and links to each grant program.
Community Planning and Capacity Building
FEMA’s Community Planning and Capacity Building (CPCB) Recovery Support Function builds the community ability to recover and plan after a disaster. CPCB capabilities can be used to support mitigation and smart planning decisions before and after an event. CPCB’s resources help communities prepare for recovery before a disaster.
There are other Federal agency partners with hazard mitigation and resilience programs that can work with your mitigation plan and program.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Smart Growth Program: In 2016, FEMA and the EPA renewed their Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the two agencies to work together to build safer, healthier, and more resilient communities. The two agencies will collaborate to help communities recover from disasters and reduce risk in ways that protect the environment, support the economy, and enhance neighborhoods. FEMA and the EPA will also help communities use smart growth and climate adaptation ideas to improve quality of life and steer development away from vulnerable areas. Read about the joint FEMA-EPA projects on the EPA’s Smart Growth site.
- EPA Hazard Mitigation Guide for Utilities: The EPA has created an interactive, user-friendly guide that helps utilities understand how to reduce the impact of natural disasters. This guide explains why mitigation is important, how it should be included in your community’s local mitigation plan, how to identify mitigation projects for each disaster, and how to implement and fund those projects. More information on the Hazard Mitigation Starter Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities is available from the EPA’s Water Utility Response for Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities site.
- Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Consolidated Plans: The HUD Consolidated Planning Process requires that States and local governments evaluate how vulnerable low- and moderate-income housing is to natural hazards. Communities evaluate housing vulnerability using readily available data developed by Federal agencies, other analyses (like a hazard mitigation plan), and information available to State and local government grantees.
- Economic Development Administration: The Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) guidelines support building strong economies in America’s communities. CEDS content guidelines encourage communities to consider how they anticipate risk, evaluate how risk can affect key economic assets, and build responsive capacity. The guidelines encourage coordination with local hazard mitigation planning. Read more on the EDA’s CEDS site.
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Silver Jackets Program: The Silver Jackets are cooperative teams that bring together many partners to work on risk reduction. Members of the Silver Jackets learn from one another and apply their knowledge to reduce the risk of flooding and other natural disasters. They also enhance response and recovery efforts. For more information, visit the Silver Jackets online.