FEMA, VDEM Approve Plan to Make Virginia Stronger Against Disasters with a Goal of Expanding Equity

Release Date Release Number
R3-23-NR-15
Release Date:
May 22, 2023

The Commonwealth of Virginia adopts its updated Hazard Mitigation Plan with new goals and actions for the next five years.

PHILADELPHIA- FEMA Region 3 and The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) announce the approval of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s 2023 Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP). The updated plan addresses how communities intend to build resilience and mitigate against hazards such as flooding, extreme heat, hurricanes, and winter weather. The approved plan sets priorities for mitigation activities that protect people, their property, and the environment from the impacts of those hazards. This update allows for state, local, and tribal governments to receive various types of disaster-related funds from FEMA, including Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grants, Public Assistance funds, High Hazard Potential Dam (HHPD) funding and other disaster assistance.

What’s New?

One of the goals in this new, updated Hazard Mitigation Plan is to evaluate the potential impacts of all hazards to vulnerable populations. VDEM used FEMA’s National Risk Index (NRI) tool to identify communities at risk. Incorporating equity assessment tools in the hazard mitigation planning process can expand whole community awareness of potential hazards, their risk, and access to mitigation funding.  

The updated plan develops long-term strategies for protecting the residents of Virginia and properties against future disasters, such as flooding, erosion, wildfires, extreme heat, and pandemics, among others.

Some of the long-term actions outlined in the plan include:

  • Implementing home elevation projects in flood-prone areas through use of federal funding.
  • Acquiring and demolishing flood-prone structures identified as National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Repetitive Loss and Severe Repetitive Loss properties.
  • Reaching out to socially vulnerable populations who repeatedly flood to inform and encourage participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
  • Working with tribal communities to address their specific risks and helping tribes develop their own Hazard Mitigation Plans.
  • Updating HVAC systems at colleges and universities to improve air quality and lower the risk of transmission of infectious diseases.
  • Protecting critical infrastructure like the Virginia Department of Corrections facilities and making more flood resilient buildings.

“I commend the Commonwealth of Virginia and the many partners who came together to update this Hazard Mitigation Plan that meets FEMA standards,” said FEMA Region 3 Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney. “The actions and projects outlined in this plan put the Commonwealth on a path to a more resilient future and put them in a position to receive future funding from FEMA.”

"We are excited about this update of the commonwealth's Hazard Mitigation Plan," said VDEM’s State Coordinator Shawn Talmadge. "We were able to use historical data working with several partners to put together a plan that will mitigate hazards and protect people, their property, and the environment from the impacts of those hazards."

The plan was updated with data and technology provided by Old Dominion University’s Modeling and Simulation Center (VMASC), the ODU Institute of Coastal Adaptation & Resilience (ICAR) and University of Virginia's Center for Risk Management of Engineering System. The plan meets High Hazard Potential Dam (HHPD) Grant and Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) Program eligibility requirements.

Over 70 representatives from federally recognized tribes, Planning District Commissions, non-profits, and state agencies served on the State Hazard Mitigation Planning committee, representing all regions of Virginia.  

State Hazard Mitigation Plans are updated every five years. This current plan will be due for an update in March 2028.  

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FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters. FEMA Region 3’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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