13. Hazard Mitigation

Over the decades I’ve volunteered in emergency management, when money gets tight the first programs to be cut are often those associated with hazard mitigation.

Mitigation may be defined as any process that lessens the force or intensity of an event.  An example everyone can relate to is the automotive seat belt – it doesn’t prevent a crash but often reduces the impacts of that crash on the individual who buckles it.  Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms may also be thought of as hazard mitigation devices.

FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute offers many hazard mitigation courses at their Emmitsburg, Maryland campus, through state EMA offices and online.  Over a dozen are available free and online at http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/IS-393.A: Introduction to Hazard Mitigation is a good starting point.  Mitigating a hazard before it happens is nearly always easier and less expensive than cleaning up and rebuilding after some event occurs.