What is Mitigation?
By now you should know that preparedness actions are those you take to get ready for an emergency, like staying informed (by following on Facebook and Twitter @NassauEM, registering for Citizen Alerts, and listening to your NOAA Weather Radio), planning where to go when an evacuation is ordered, and getting a generator or stocking up on supplies you’ll need if the power is out for an extended period or normal water sources are contaminated.
Mitigation involves making changes to reduce vulnerabilities, taking steps to decrease damage and losses, and lessen the risk of injuries. They can be changes to processes or physical changes. Backing up your hard-drive and keeping copies of important documents at another location are data-loss mitigation measures – even if your hard-drive crashes or a fire destroys your originals, you won’t lose everything. Mitigation means spending a little time and money now to prevent much more lost time and money later; like building a home on a raised foundation to mitigate flood damage.
Emergency Management is concerned with mitigating the hazards that threaten our community. Improving local ordinances and building codes to ensure houses are safe during strong winds, Floodplain Management, elevating structures so they won’t be affected by 10, 100, or 500-year floods, relocating “repetitive loss” structures, encouraging defensible space to reduce fuel for wildfire, enhancing drainage systems, building levies and tornado shelters, reinforcing existing infrastructure, installing shutters and hurricane clips, maintaining flood insurance, and even educational outreach projects to teach citizens ways to mitigate personal losses – all are ways to reduce the impacts of natural hazards.
Your Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) Task Force
Nassau County Emergency Management (NCEM) heads a diverse group of citizens – representing public safety, utilities, government and non-government agencies, private business and industry, faith-based organizations, homeowners associations, and the general public – who understand that an investment in time and money up front can save much more in the future. This LMS Task Force is responsible for a huge body of work: they evaluate historical incident data, climate and population trends, comprehensive land use and development plans, local ordinances and resources; identify possible hazards and local vulnerabilities; estimate potential damage and losses, disruption of services, and economic impacts, then solicit, propose, and prioritize mitigation projects for implementation when funding is made available. Our task force has also worked hard to get Nassau County involved in the Community Rating System (CRS); so our residents will receive discounts on their flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
The LMS Task Force collectively develops the strategic mitigation plan for the entire county. The LMS is promulgated by the jurisdiction, but is a living document under regular review. Nassau County’s LMS Task Force meets quarterly so that the strategy can be revised as progress is made, priorities change, incidents occur, or new projects are proposed. When funding sources are identified, NCEM helps agencies identify “match” sources and submit their grant applications. Meetings are held at the Emergency Operations Center and are open to the public.