Mitigation is the act of reducing risk and/or lessening the impact. In emergency management terms, mitigation involves strategies and projects that are undertaken to reduce the risk and lessen the impact of disasters in our community. While the practical applications of mitigation in emergency management is not new (examples include flood walls, storm shelters, stronger building codes, zoning ordinances, etc.), the definition and concept of effectively using mitigation in emergency management continues to evolve. In many cases, the easy mitigation measures are already in place, which in some cases leaves us to consider measures with larger price tags and those that are more difficult or less desirable to implement. New technologies and creative thinking continues to provide new strategies for consideration as well.
Recognizing the value of mitigation and understanding the challenges, FEMA has encouraged local jurisdictions to undertake a more formalized approach to mitigation planning. The presence of an approved mitigation plan is, in many cases, required for many federal funding opportunities.