What is Hazard Mitigation?

Terms to know:

Natural hazard = a natural event or process that can cause loss of life and/or damage to property and disruption of human activities (e.g. earthquakes, landslides, wildfires and tsunami)

Hazard mitigation = sustained actions taken to help reduce or eliminate long-term risks to life and property caused by hazard events.


Common Mitigation Actions

                    • Promoting effective land use planning based on identified hazards
                    • Adopting and enforcing building codes and standards
                    • Buying flood insurance to protect personal property and belongings
                    • Securing shelves and water heaters to walls
                    • Elevating structures above the floodplain
                    • Retrofitting structures to withstand winds and earthquakes
                    • Acquisition and demolition of structures in flood-prone areas
                    • Construction and maintenance of roadways, culverts and dams
                    • Acquisition of undevelopable, hazard-prone lands
                    • Development and distribution of educational materials
                    • Construction of detention or retention ponds

Why do we do it?

Investing in hazard mitigation makes good sense. In addition to the benefits of preventing loss of life or injury, a study by the National Institute of Building Sciences, Multi-hazard Mitigation Council documented that every $1 spent on mitigation saves an average of $6 in future reduced losses. This savings increases to $7 for flood mitigation projects.

When should we take action?

Hazard mitigation actions are most effective at reducing loss when they are based on an inclusive, comprehensive, long-term plan that is developed well before a disaster occurs. The implementation of hazard mitigation actions leads to building stronger, safer and smarter communities that are better able to minimize injuries and damage from future events.