Hazard mitigation describes sustained actions taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risks to people and property caused by natural hazards. Hazard mitigation actions improve a community’s resilience to natural disasters by taking measures to reduce risk and to minimize impacts of severe weather events.
While hazard mitigation actions are beneficial and should be taken before a disaster occurs, hazard mitigation is critical following a disaster. By restoring structures to their pre-disaster conditions, they remain vulnerable to future damages and are susceptible to the costly repetitive cycle of damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage.
Hazard mitigation breaks the cycle of damage and reconstruction by reducing vulnerability to future events. Imagine a bridge or a culvert that was recently washed out during a flood event and needs to be replaced. Rather than reconstructing the bridge or culvert to its pre-disaster conditions, hazard mitigation would upsize the structure to pass through more water during the next flood event, thus reducing its risk of washout.
According to the National Institute of Building Sciences findings, every $1 spent on mitigation funding can save $6 in future disaster costs.