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Hazard Mitigation Planning
 
Planning has always played an important role in making communities safer places to live. Local zoning and subdivision plans, comprehensive plans, building codes and floodplain ordinances are all familiar community efforts aimed at that common goal. Hazard mitigation planning is an extension of that effort that aims at identifying hazards and risks in our communities and developing ways and means of reducing potentially disastrous losses of life and property.
 
Hazard mitigation planning is now more important than ever for communities interested in getting federal funds for mitigation projects. Every mitigation grant program sponsored by FEMA now requires applicants to have a federally-approved hazard mitigation plan (HMP) to be eligible for project funding. That means that even if your community is included in a federally-declared disaster, you won't be eligible for a buyout program (for example) unless you already have a FEMA-approved HMP.
 
PEMA has created a number of tools to assist counties with hazard mitigation planning. Pennsylvania's All-Hazard Mitigation Planning and Project Identification Toolkit (HM Toolkit) is a culmination of all "tools" created to standardize, streamline and simplify the hazard mitigation planning process in the Commonwealth. "Tools" within the HM Toolkit include:
 
Pennsylvania's All-Hazard Mitigation Planning Standard Operating Guide (SOG)

The SOG documents standard operating procedures for hazard mitigation planning in Pennsylvania by capturing FEMA requirements, clarifying and combining existing guidance (particularly FEMA 386), and allowing communities a greater opportunity to excel in the preparation of hazard mitigation plans. The step-by-step "how-to" guidance provided in the SOG makes the hazard mitigation development process more manageable while creating consistency among local hazard mitigation plans. Key standards developed for and included in the SOG are: Model Plan Outline (MPO), Risk Factor Methodology, Standard List of Hazards, and Mitigation Action Evaluation Methodology (PA STEEL). The guidance provided in the SOG allows PEMA to conduct a more thorough and detailed plan review in less time. The SOG is to be used in conjunction with the PEMA's online Plan Builder. Click here to download the Standard Operating Guide on the Hazard Mitigation Forms Page.
 
Pennsylvania's All-Hazard Mitigation Tool (PA Tool)

The PA Tool is an online tool consisting of three primary components: 1) Plan Builder, 2) Project Catalog, and 3) Library. It is a password-protected mitigation planning tool that allows entities to create, update, and export their HMP online with the Plan Builder component of the PA Tool. It is intended to be used by county planners and emergency managers. The Plan Builder leads users through HMP development by following the standard operating procedures and the Model Plan Outline described in the SOG. The Project Catalog allows users to enter and store mitigation project information in a way that gives communities the ability to more easily apply for project funding through FEMA's online eGrants system. The Library is a repository for applicable documents and files that can be shared among HMP collaborators within the same jurisdiction or planning area.
 
The PA Tool makes it possible to efficiently roll-up information from local mitigation plans into the Commonwealth HMP. Because plan and project information is entered into a database via the PA Tool, data pertaining to locally identified hazards, assessed risk, assessed capabilities, and proposed actions and projects can easily be sorted and integrated into the State Hazard Mitigation Plan. If you are interested in learning more about the PA Tool, check out the PA Tool User's Guide on the Hazard Mitigation Forms Page. This document provides users with detailed information on how to navigate through the online PA Tool, and will give an idea of the workflow and functionality of the tool. If you believe you should have access to the PA Tool, please fill out a New User Form Application and submit it to the PEMA Hazard Mitigation e-mail (RA-shazmitoff@pa.gov) . Should you already have access to the PA Tool but need your password reset, please send an e-mail to the Hazard Mitigation e-mail, listing your account username.