What is Hazard Mitigation?
The term Hazard Mitigation describes actions that communities can take to help reduce or eliminate long-term risks caused by natural disasters. Natural Hazards in Hesperia can include earthquake, flooding, wildfire, drought and extreme heat and cold. During the planning process, prioritization will be given to the hazards within the City that are most likely to occur.
Hazard mitigation planning and projects can create a safer City by reducing loss of life and property damage associated with future disasters.
As we plan for new development and improvements to existing infrastructure, mitigation can and should be an important component of the planning effort. That extra resiliency will help citizens bounce back from that worst case flood, fire or storm more quickly.
Mitigation activities can be developed before a disaster occurs, however after a disaster, hazard mitigation assessment and planning is an essential activity to prevent disaster amnesia. Oftentimes after disasters, repairs and reconstruction are completed in such a way as to simply restore damaged property to pre-disaster conditions. These efforts may “get things back the norm”, but the replication of pre-disaster conditions may result in a repetitive cycle of damage and reconstruction. Hazard mitigation planning in Hesperia can break this repetitive cycle by producing less vulnerable conditions through post-disaster repairs and disaster-smart reconstruction.
With inflation and the cost of materials on the rise, constant reconstruction is a continued strain on already stressed City budgets. Hazard mitigation planning and related grant funding break the expensive cycle of damage and reconstruction by taking a long-term view of better community and land-use planning, of which citizen action is central and necessary.
What Are the Benefits?
- Reduces the loss of life, property, essential services, critical facilities and economic hardship.
- Reduces short-term and long-term recovery and reconstruction costs.
- Increases cooperation and communication within the community through the planning process.
- Increases potential for state and federal funding for pre-disaster and recovery projects within the City.
What Types of Mitigation Techniques Can Be Utilized?
- Prevention – Keep hazard risk from getting worse.
- Property Protection – Modify existing development subject to hazard risk.
- Public Education & Awareness – Inform people about potential hazards and mitigation actions.
- Natural Resource Protection – Identify the benefits of the indigenous and natural functions of the area to take advantage of the protection it provides, reduce effects of hazards & improve quality of environment.
- Emergency Services – Actions taken to ensure continuity of emergency services.
- Structural Projects – Manmade structures or improvements to control hazards.
Common mitigation actions developed by communities include the following:
- Retrofitting of structures & design of new construction, such as flood-proofing a home or building.
- Enforcement of building codes, floodplain management codes and environmental regulations.
- Public safety measures such as continual maintenance of roadways, culverts and drainage ditches.
- Acquisition of structures, such as purchasing buildings located in a floodplain.
- Acquisition of hazard prone lands in their undeveloped state to ensure they remain so.
- Protecting critical facilities and infrastructure from future hazard events.
- Mitigation, disaster recovery and Continuity of Operations (COOP) planning.
- Development and distribution of outreach materials related to hazard mitigation.
- Deployment of warning systems.