What is Hazard Mitigation?
The term Hazard Mitigation describes actions that communities can take to help reduce or eliminate long-term risks caused by natural and manmade disasters. Disasters in Plumas County can include floods, wildfires, landslides, earthquakes, winter storms, and drought. During the planning process, prioritization will be given to the hazards within Plumas County that are most likely to occur.
Hazard mitigation planning and projects can create a safer Plumas County by reducing loss of life and property damage associated with future disasters. Each dollar spent on mitigation can save Plumas County an average of four dollars!
As we plan for new development and improvements to existing infrastructure, mitigation can and should be an important component of the planning effort. That extra resiliency will help citizens bounce back from that worst-case flood, fire, or winter storm more quickly.
Mitigation activities can be developed before a disaster occurs, however, after a disaster, hazard mitigation assessment and planning is an essential activity to prevent disaster amnesia. Oftentimes after disasters, repairs, and reconstruction are completed in such a way as to simply restore damaged property to pre-disaster conditions. These efforts may "get things back to the norm", but the replication of pre-disaster conditions may result in a repetitive cycle of damage and reconstruction. Hazard mitigation planning in Plumas County can break this repetitive cycle by producing less vulnerable conditions through post-disaster repairs and disaster-smart reconstruction.
Hazard Mitigation Breaks the Cycle
With inflation and the cost of materials on the rise, constant reconstruction is a continued strain on already stressed budgets. Hazard mitigation planning and related grant funding break the expensive cycle of damage and reconstruction by taking a long-term view of better community and land-use planning, of which citizen action is central and necessary.
What Are the Benefits?
- Reduces the loss of life, property, essential services, critical facilities, and economic hardship.
- Reduces short-term and long-term recovery and reconstruction costs.
- Increases cooperation and communication within the community through the planning process.
- Increases potential for state and federal funding for pre-disaster and recovery projects within Plumas County.
What Types of Mitigation Techniques Can Be Utilized?
Hazard mitigation actions are commonly broken into six different categories:
- Prevention – Keep hazard risk from getting worse.
- Property Protection – Modify existing development subject to hazard risk.
- Public Education & Awareness – Inform people about potential hazards and mitigation actions.
- Natural Resource Protection – Identify the benefits of the indigenous and natural functions of the area to take advantage of the protection it provides, reduce the effects of hazards & improve the quality of the environment.
- Emergency Services – Actions taken to ensure continuity of emergency services.
- Structural Projects – Man-made structures or improvements to control hazards.
Common mitigation actions developed by communities include the following:
- Retrofitting of structures & design of new construction, such as elevating or floodproofing a home or building.
- Enforcement of building codes, floodplain management codes, and environmental regulations.
- Public safety measures such as continual maintenance of roadways, culverts, and dams.
- Acquisition of relocation of structures, such as purchasing buildings located in a floodplain.
- Acquisition of hazard-prone lands in their undeveloped state to ensure they remain so.
- Protecting critical facilities and infrastructure from future hazard events.
- Mitigation, disaster recovery, and Continuity of Operations (COOP) planning.
- Development and distribution of outreach materials related to hazard mitigation.
- Deployment of warning systems.