Hazard Mitigation Plan Will Help Brevard County Better Prepare for Natural Disasters
By Don Walker, Brevard County // September 26, 2015
reducing vulnerability to disasters
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Brevard County and its municipalities are better prepared for disasters with the recent approval of a local hazard mitigation plan.
The plan is a long-term strategy to reduce the community’s vulnerability to natural disasters. Jurisdictions that adopted this plan include Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral, Grant-Valkaria, Indialantic, Indian Harbour Beach, Malabar, Melbourne, Melbourne Village, Rockledge, Palm Shores, Satellite Beach, Palm Bay, Titusville, West Melbourne and unincorporated Brevard County.
The final city to consider adoption is Melbourne Beach, which is expected to consider the plan during its Oct. 21 town council meeting.
The plan, known as the Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) identifies hazards and potential hazards in the communities, and creates a framework to help community officials make decisions that may ultimately protect lives and property.
The LMS also outlines a strategy for implementing mitigation projects in all of the jurisdictions involved.
Through projects that make community infrastructure more resilient to natural disasters, these communities are taking proactive steps to lessen the impact of future disasters and the costly expenses associated with them.
A study conducted by the Multi-hazard Mitigation Council shows that there is a four dollar savings for every dollar invested into mitigation measures.
“Brevard County has experienced natural disasters ranging from tropical cyclones to wildfires, tornadoes, severe flooding, and winter freezes,” said Emergency Management Director Kimberly Prosser.
“We are also vulnerable to other natural, human-caused and technological disasters. That’s why it’s important that we not only have plans in place for response, but that we have an approved Local Mitigation Strategy so that our community is eligible for federal funding following any federally declared disasters.”
History shows that the physical, financial and emotional losses caused by disasters can be reduced significantly through hazard mitigation planning. The planning process encourages communities to integrate mitigation with day-to-day decision-making regarding land-use planning, floodplain management, site design and other activities.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency reviews local mitigation plans at least once every five years. A FEMA-approved LMS enables adopting counties and municipalities to access available funding for mitigation such as the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Pre-Disaster Mitigation, Flood Mitigation Assistance, Severe Repetitive Loss, and Repetitive Flood Claims.
An approved and adopted LMS is also a requirement for state and local governments, in order to receive federal funding following a Presidential Disaster Declaration, per the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act and the Code of Federal Regulations.
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