Pre-Disaster Planning & Resources

Pre-Disaster Planning & Resources

Acronyms – Link to our list KAMM Mitigation Acronyms.


FEMA Building Sciences Resource Library

FEMA is excited to announce the launch of its new resource library dedicated to building science. The new library contains all available materials that focus on creating disaster-resistant communities.  New functionality empowers users with enhanced search capabilities.  Users can now use combinations of the following to get the information you need.  A list of links featured below will open the new library by hazard:


Hazard Mitigation Planning

Hazard mitigation planning reduces loss of life and property by minimizing the impact of disasters.  It begins with state, tribal and local governments identifying natural disaster risks and vulnerabilities that are common in their area.  After identifying these risks, they develop long-term strategies for protecting people and property from similar events.  Mitigation plans are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage and reconstruction.


New Mitigation and Climate Action Planning Resources Available from the American Planning Association

FEMA’s National Mitigation Planning Program supports state, local, tribal and territory governments with risk-based mitigation planning to reduce or eliminate risks to life and property from natural hazards. The program focuses on building resilience through early and often stakeholder engagement, integration with community planning, and implementation of mitigation actions. For more information, visit Hazard Mitigation Planning |

With support from FEMA’s Cooperating Technical Partners program, the American Planning Association (APA) produced the following mitigation and climate action planning resources. Explore these resources via the links below.

Scenario planning can help planners make communities more resilient from future conditions; these conditions can include extreme weather and changing demographics. This PAS Memo offers guidance to planners on how to expand the use of foresight through exploratory scenario planning in both the hazard mitigation and climate adaptation fields.


For more resources that help communities integrate principles of hazard mitigation with planning efforts visit FEMA’s Implement, Integrate and Maintain Mitigation Planning Activities page.




The Role of Local Leadership

How Can Local Leaders Promote the Integration of Hazard Mitigation into Local Planning? 

Local community leaders and decision makers play an important role in setting priorities, providing overarching policy direction, and bringing stakeholders together.  Their visibility can be used to spearhead initiatives that promote the importance of integrating hazard mitigation to achieve overall community safety and resilience.  In addition, they have the ability to communicate with a broad base of constituents and partners.  These qualities are invaluable for the success of an integrated, interdepartmental, multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation strategy.  


FEMA Releases New Resource to Align Community Plans and Build Resilience

September 2022

A new resource will help economic development and hazard mitigation planners achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and Hazard Mitigation Plan Alignment Guide connects economic development and hazard mitigation plans so communities can be more resilient from natural hazards.  The guide was a collaboration between FEMA and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

Communities, states and federal officials can use the guide when preparing or reviewing FEMA Hazard Mitigation Plans and EDA Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies. Included in the guide are strategies to help align strategies with approved local plans.

Hazard mitigation plans and EDA Strategies are key plans to improve community resilience.  An EDA Strategy must include economic resilience in its approach while a hazard mitigation plan identifies and plans for natural hazard risks to key sectors, including the economy.  Aligning plans can benefit communities in many ways, including businesses reopening more quickly and keeping critical facilities and infrastructure working during and after hazard events.

Community partners will better coordinate, share priorities and actions that reduce risk and use a wide range of resources and funding when hazard mitigation and economic plans are aligned.  This is because plans reinforce each other and are easier to implement.

The guide includes economic development concepts to add to hazard mitigation plans.  It also encourages integration of information from risk assessments and hazard mitigation ideas to use in a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies.

To view and download the guide, link to The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and Hazard Mitigation Plan Alignment Guide


FEMA Updates State and Local Mitigation Planning Policy Guides

April 19, 2022

FEMA updated its state and local mitigation planning policy guides to reflect programmatic and administrative regulatory changes.  The agency routinely updates the policies to continually improve and better support stakeholders in meeting federal requirements when creating hazard mitigation plans.

The updated policies facilitate consistent evaluation and approval of state and local hazard mitigation plans and promote mitigation planning and risk-informed decision-making.  They also support stakeholders in meeting federal requirements with their hazard mitigation plans to receive certain types of funding.

These are the next generation of policies that reinforce resilience as a whole-community effort that builds state and local capabilities to plan for long-term risk reduction, climate change and equitable outcomes.  Changes to state and local policies include:

The policies will become effective for all mitigation plan approvals one year from the official release date.  This provides a one-year transition period for state and local governments to meet the new requirements.

As of March 31, 85% of the nation’s population live in communities with current mitigation plans.  FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plans are required for certain types of federal grant funding.

The policies are the official interpretation of the requirements in the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended and other federal statutes as well in federal regulations, specifically Title 44 Code of Federal Regulations Part 201 Mitigation Planning.

Visit FEMA’s Policy Update webpage to learn more. 


Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for Local Governments

This 2017 Guide is designed for local governments to help them to prepare for recovery from future disasters by engaging with the whole community and planning for a recovery activities that are comprehensive and long term.

The Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for Local Governments is designed to help local governments prepare for recovery from future disasters . The Guide offers tools for public engagement, whole-community recovery, identification of existing recovery resources, and identifying outside partnerships that can help local governments build resilience.

Mitigation is especially powerful when it is coordinated with other community planning processes, regulations, and policies.  The publications listed below help communities bring the principles of hazard mitigation into planning efforts.


Integrating Hazard Mitigation Into Local Planning: Case Studies and Tools for Community Officials

Integrating Hazard Mitigation Into Local Planning: Case Studies and Tools for Community Officials (2013) provides practical guidance on how to incorporate risk reduction strategies into existing local plans, policies, codes, and programs that guide community development or redevelopment patterns. The following five fact sheets accompany this document.


FEMA Releases Guide to Engaging Faith-Based and Community Organizations: Planning Considerations for Emergency Managers

June 18, 2018

FEMA and the DHS Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives released the guide on Engaging Faith-based and Community Organizations: Planning Considerations for Emergency Managers. Faith-based and community organizations offer a wide variety of human and material resources that can prove invaluable during and after an incident.  This guide provides a methodology for emergency managers to engage with faith-based and community organizations in enhancing the resiliency of our nation.  By identifying, engaging, and building partnerships with these groups, particularly those in racially, ethnically, economically, and religiously diverse communities, emergency managers can provide training and technical assistance to strengthen their skills, connect them with existing partners, and then integrate them into emergency management plans and exercises before an event occurs thus increasing response and recovery capability.  This document also provides lists of resources available to help build relationships between emergency management and faith-based and community organizations.

Download Engaging Faith-based and Community Organizations: Planning Considerations for Emergency Managers, visit


Bulletin Aligning Mitigation Planning and the Community Rating System

October 23, 2018

Written by Amanda Sharma, MBA, MRLS, CFM – FEMA Headquarters Mitigation Planner/Analytics

FEMA’s local mitigation planning and the CRS program’s Activity 510 Floodplain Management Planning are aimed at guiding communities through a planning process that can help them move from being aware of their natural hazard risk to acting to reduce it.  Nationwide, more than 20C,000 jurisdictions have an approved or approvable-pending-adoption hazard mitigation plan.  At the same time, 22,000+ communities participate in the NFIP, and nearly 1,500 of those participate in the CRS.

Obviously, these programs are not mutually exclusive.  They were created for different purposes, but have the same goal: to help communities reduce threats and losses caused by floods and other natural hazards.  After all, 99 percent of communities enrolled in the CRS also engage in local hazard mitigation planning plans.  So, if communities are engaging in both kinds of planning, why must they write two different, separate plans?

The National Mitigation Planning Program at FEMA tackled this question in its new publication, Mitigation Planning and the Community Rating System Key Topics Bulletin.  This document assumes the perspective of the mitigation planner and is organized around the local mitigation planning requirements.  It aligns mitigation planning requirements to Activity 510 Floodplain Management Planning steps, with helpful hints and advice about common challenges associated with coordinating the processes.  The Bulletin is intended to help community officials integrate the two planning processes to produce more effective flood mitigation actions and meet the criteria of both programs more efficiently.  The full authorities for each process have not changed.  They are available in the CRS Coordinator’s Manual (2017).

Communities could save planning participants time, maximize available resources, and add value by building connections to streamline their planning processes.  If you’ve thought about developing a combined local mitigation and CRS Activity 510 plan, check it out.


Job Aid and Considerations for Local Mitigation Planning Grant Subapplicants

November 1, 2017

This Job Aid will guide local communities and tribal subapplicants as they pursue planning grant funding under the Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program. It provides considerations for the development of a planning grant scope of work with the goal of encouraging strong, comprehensive planning grant subapplications. The Job Aid also addresses considerations for cost estimates.


FEMA and the Dept of Transportation Pipeline Hazard Materials and Safety Administration Release New Guidance Document

January 27, 2015

FEMA, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline Hazard Materials and Safety Administration (PHMSA), released the new guidance document, “Hazard Mitigation Planning: Practices for Land Use Planning and Development near Pipelines.” It outlines best practices for communities to reduce risks from pipeline incidents, including those caused by natural hazards. It was prepared by PHMSA’s Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA) Communications Team and is sponsored by PHMSA in coordination with FEMA as a primer for incorporating pipeline hazards into hazard mitigation plans.

The guidance aims to provide emergency managers, planners, and others involved with developing hazard mitigation plans with the knowledge and understanding of: how pipelines operate, the common products that may be transported through transmission pipelines, the potential impacts (risks) of pipeline incidents, and mitigation strategies they can implement to reduce these risks.  FEMA, DOT and the PIPA team work closely together to share program requirements and guidance, and discuss opportunities for collaboration. PIPA team contributors include state, federal and local government officials, as well as representatives from the pipeline industry and the general public.



FEMA Mitigation Planning Publications

Mitigation Ideas

Mitigation Ideas provides a range of potential mitigation actions for reducing risk to natural hazards and disasters. Ideas for mitigation actions are presented for the following natural hazards: drought, earthquake, erosion, extreme temperatures, flood, hail, landslide, lightning, sea level rise, severe wind, severe winter weather, storm surge, subsidence, tornado, tsunami, and wildfire.








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