The hazard mitigation planning process is required under federal law to help communities better prepare for natural and hazardous-materials disaster events and to ensure communities are eligible for federal grants to support mitigation actions. Mitigation plans must be updated and approved every five years to maintain eligibility. Lexington’s current plan expires in 2018.
The federal Disaster Mitigation Action of 2000 requires that a community have an approved mitigation plan in order to be eligible for post-disaster federal funding for projects and planning. It requires that a planning process be established and that the process involve stakeholders and residents at all levels, including vulnerable populations.
The planning process involves the development of a risk assessment as well as the development of a mitigation strategy. Risk is defined as the potential that a community could be affected by a hazard event. Mitigation is defined as the actions taken by a community to reduce or even eliminate risk elements and minimize losses and disruptions resulting from hazard events.
The final plan defines the hazards and provides a measure of the Lexington community’s ability to utilize resources to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters.
Risk assessment includes:
- Determining what hazards have occurred or exist.
- Are there any new hazards since the last plan was approved.
- Overall, what is the community’s potential exposure.
- Using mapping technology, identify properties and areas that are particularly vulnerable to specific hazards, such as flooding.
The current mitigation plan identifies the following hazards in Fayette County.
- Dam Failure
- Extreme Heat
- Extreme Cold
- Hazardous Materials
- Mine Subsidence
- Severe Storm
- Severe Winter Storm
Once the hazards are reviewed and re-defined, the mitigation strategy begins. Simply stated, the question is: “What can my community do to reduce death, injuries and damage from hazard events?”
Strategy types include:
- Property protection
- Structural projects
- Natural resource protection
- Emergency services
- Public information, education and awareness campaigns
Once complete, the mitigation planning process guides the selection of activities which will reduce potential losses based on the risk assessment.
- Goal: Determine the desired long-term outcomes.
- Action Items: What specific actions will the community take to reduce risk to hazards?
- Action Plan: How will the actions be prioritized and implemented?
The final plan will be submitted to the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for approval prior to being submitted to LFUCG Council for adoption. The final plan is valid for five years.
After the plan is approved, Lexington Emergency Management and our stakeholders will review the plan on annual basis to maintain its application to the community.
More information about the mitigation planning process is available from the Lexington Emergency Management Operations Director, Tim Brandewie. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone: 859-280-8054.