Creating a Hazard Mitigation Plan

How to Create a Plan

Updating or developing a hazard mitigation plan can happen before disasters strike. Public participation during the whole process is very important and greatly enhances the information gathered and incorporated into the plan. To start the process, a group of stake holders (large businesses, local government, emergency services, road crews, schools, non profits) and the public meet to gather information, identify trouble spots and develop mitigation strategies.

Hazard Identification and Risk Analysis  – Natural hazards to which the town is most susceptible are identified. The most common in the Central Vermont Region are flooding, severe storms and winter storms. To help gather this information, historical weather records are reviewed. When looking at flooding   along a major river, it is also helpful to review the plans of neighboring jurisdictions to help evaluate flood impacts and occurrences.

Vulnerability Assessment  – Once the natural hazards are identified, facilities and populations which are susceptible to the natural hazards are mapped and listed. It is helpful to review photographs of previous events, maps, and hold interviews with residents who have a good working knowledge of the town. Once the facilities and populations are outlined, the town can prioritize which facilities/populations need immediate protection from further damages.

Development of Hazard Mitigation Strategies – This step involves identifying actions that can be taken to protect the identified vulnerable structures and populations. There are two main types of mitigation strategies – structural and non structural. Examples of structural activities are upgrading/expanding culverts, widening bridges, rebuilding roads, etc. Examples of non structural activities include development of educational materials and revising/adding zoning, ordinances, and building codes.

Technical Assistance

We are able to assist towns in the development and update process of their plan. We can also assist with development of mitigation strategies or integration of mitigation into your community’s municipal plan. Please contact us at or 802.229.0389 to get started.

Plan Review Process

Plans are first reviewed by Vermont Emergency Management to ensure all State requirements are met. The plan is then reviewed by FEMA. The FEMA review typically takes about 45 days. Once the plan meets FEMA standards, the plan earns conditional approval. The plan is then adopted by the Select Board. Once adoption occurs, the signed adoption page is sent to FEMA so that the plan may earn final approval. The plan is valid for 5 years after the date of final approval.