Hazard mitigation is any cost-effective and sustained action taken to reduce the long-term risk to human life, property, and infrastructure from hazards.
While mitigation activities can and should be taken before a disaster occurs, hazard mitigation is essential. Often after disasters, repairs and reconstruction are completed in such a way as to simply restore damaged property to pre-disaster conditions. The implementation of such hazard mitigation actions leads to building stronger, safer and smarter.
Hazard mitigation is the first step in the disaster cycle and is followed by preparedness, response, and recovery. Although it is often overlooked, hazard mitigation is an important step: it focuses on risk reduction to break this expensive cycle of repetitive loss.
The Hazard Mitigation Plan outlines goals, objectives, and specific actions New York City can take to reduce risks.
In order to be eligible for post-disaster mitigation funding from FEMA, including Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding, HMPs must be updated every five years. In March 2009, NYC Emergency Management completed the first New York City HMP to help make the city more resilient to hazards.
In April 2014, NYC Emergency Management — in partnership with the Department of City Planning (DCP) and in close coordination with the Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency — completed the first update to the 2009 HMP. The Plan is effective April 17, 2014 – April 17, 2019.
Hazards included in the plan are: coastal erosion, coastal storms, disease outbreaks, drought, earthquakes, extreme temperatures, flooding, severe weather (i.e., thunderstorms, tornadoes, and windstorms), wildfire, winter storms, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN), cyber threats, and infrastructure failures.
Part of the plan development process includes identifying what initiatives — mitigation actions — the City is taking (i.e., existing) or could take (i.e., potential) to minimize the effects of a hazard event on New York City's population, economy, property, building stock, and infrastructure.
The comprehensive list of mitigation actions can be found in section 4 of the plan.
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) was signed into law in 1988 and provides the authority for federal disaster assistance activities, including preparedness and mitigation along with assistance for response and recovery.
The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000) amended the Stafford Act to reinforce the importance mitigation planning and emphasize planning for disasters before they occur. DMA 2000 established provisions and requirements for state, local, and Indian Tribal entities to closely coordinate mitigation planning and implementation efforts. States and communities must have an approved Hazard Mitigation Plan to be eligible to apply for and receive FEMA hazard mitigation funds.
This guide is based on the 2014 Hazard Mitigation Plan but focuses on a targeted group of hazards that pose a risk to New York City and includes information on how the City approaches risk management in a user-friendly and accessible format. Hazards featured in the guide include: coastal storms, coastal erosion, flooding, strong windstorms, extreme heat, winter weather, water shortage, earthquakes, and pandemic influenza.
Learn how to protect your property from hazards with the Ready New York: Reduce Your Risk guide.