Creating a Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan

A multi-hazard mitigation plan:

  1. Identifies potential natural hazard threats to your community (such as areas likely to suffer flooding or erosion) through a risk analysis.
  2. Determines likely impacts of those hazards.
  3. Sets mitigation goals.
  4. Determines, prioritizes, and implements strategies to lessen the impacts of these hazards on your community.

NOTE: If your community doesn’t have an approved multi-hazard mitigation plan, it will not be eligible for federal post-disaster mitigation grants.

Funding for creating a Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan may be available through various sources; see the funding section, in particular the FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance Program and the FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program.

For further information:

  • Check the Massachusetts Emergency Management Office’s official list to see if your community has an approved plan.
  • Talk to the designated emergency manager for your community regarding current status and plans for enhancing or updating the plan, and opportunities to get more involved in the process.
  • See Natural Hazards Mitigation Planning: A Community Guide (PDF, 1.1 MB) for specific information about developing a plan in Massachusetts.
  • To be certain that your existing or new hazard mitigation plan meets FEMA standards, see their new Local Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Guidance (2008). This document includes specific information on how aspects of your plan can help qualify your community for the Community Rating System — a program that can offer your community significant reductions in their federal flood insurance rates.
  • For instructions on how to conduct a comprehensive risk review, see chapter 4 of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Understanding Your Risks: Identifying Hazards and Estimating Losses.
  • FEMA’s Mitigation Planning Guidance page provides a step-by-step approach for creating a multi-hazard mitigation plan.
  • If your community has the technical resources, FEMA and the National Institute of Building Sciences have developed a methodology (called HAZUS) to assess a community’s hazard exposure. See the HAZUS web site. UPDATE: The Northeast States Emergency Consortium offers GIS services and HAZUS-MH disaster simulation and damage reports free of charge to all state, county, and local governments within the NESEC region. See this page on the NESEC site for more information.
  • Contact the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Planner, Sarah Zingarelli at or (617) 626-1356.

* Your community needs only 500 points to qualify for reduced flood insurance premiums through the Community Rating System (CRS). For more information (including how to apply for the CRS program), see our Community Rating System (CRS) primer.

Notes from the folks at CRS:

“Some local governments use their Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan to meet the repetitive loss and floodplain management planning program requirements of CRS. When local governments coordinate the mitigation plan and floodplain management plan requirements of CRS, they can receive up to 294 points.”