Richard H. Fiske, III
Preventative planning can greatly reduce the negative effects of a disaster. Mitigation is the process of effectively reducing the effects of, or eliminating the likelihood of a potential disaster or emergency. Because of marked reductions in loss of life and loss of property following a disaster, the proven success of mitigation techniques and other preventative planning measures have become firmly cemented in State and Federal disaster programs. Mitigation can occur in both financial and physical applications. For example, purchasing a homeowner's insurance policy could be considered a form of financial mitigation. Among a few examples of physical mitigation actions could include removing endangered homes susceptible to flooding out of flood zones, engineering bridges to withstand earthquakes, creating and enforcing effective building codes to protect property from weather events, as well as creating tornado safe rooms and much more.
By increasing overall community resiliency, preventative planning and mitigation techniques are used to not only reduce the frequency and effect of emergencies, but are also used to minimize the time it takes in the recovery process when re-opening schools and businesses. Mitigation techniques also help in strengthening hospitals, public safety buildings and other critical infrastructure.