MD Mitigation Planning

Mitigation Planning Across Maryland

Effective mitigation planning enables local jurisdictions to reduce the impact of disasters before they occur by instituting cost effective prevention and education measures. In the long run, successful implementation of mitigation projects ultimately will save the lives of many people and millions of dollars in property damages.

To receive funding from the federal government for mitigation projects, local jurisdictions in Maryland must submit a mitigation plan every five years to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) for initial review. Upon approval, the State then forwards the plan to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for final review and approval. Some of the requirements set forth by the federal government include the identification of hazards, assessments of critical infrastructure, and determining cost effective solutions that will reduce the impacts of the identified hazards. Through support by CHHS staffers, the City of Annapolis, Montgomery County, and Howard County were able to successfully complete updates to their comprehensive mitigation plans within the past year.

While CHHS staffers working on their respective hazard mitigation plans had to comply with the same set of stringent standards, they were faced with their very own unique planning challenges. David Mandell, Senior Law and Policy Analyst with CHHS and Senior Planner with the Annapolis Office of Emergency Preparedness & Risk Management, led the year-long planning effort for the state’s capital. With its proximity to the Chesapeake Bay and lessons learned from several snowstorms, Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, the 2012 derecho and an earthquake since the last plan update, Annapolis included measures to limit the impact of future storms. On June 10, 2013, FEMA provided the City of Annapolis with formal notice of approval of its Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan Update.

Mehrab Karim, CHHS Senior Policy Analyst and Regional Planner to Montgomery County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, worked with subject matter experts to support the County’s update. They received formal FEMA approval on April 24, 2013.

Like the City of Annapolis and Montgomery County, Howard County also completed a mitigation plan update in late 2012 with support from CHHS staff. The County’s mitigation plan has been locally adopted and is currently awaiting official approval by FEMA. The next task for these local and county agencies is to implement the mitigation projects envisioned in their updates to enhance resiliency and sustainability.

To further support the mitigation efforts of the local jurisdictions, MEMA is in the process of developing the State Mitigation Operational Plan. Senior Policy Analyst Lisa Crow and Senior Law and Policy Analyst Elizabeth Webster are providing program support to the initiative, led by the State, that will enhance the overall process for ongoing communication and coordination among state-level partners.

This text is taken from the CHHS Fall 2013 Newsletter.

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