What is Hazard Mitigation?
Hazard mitigation is any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects. Hazard mitigation activities are dedicated to breaking the cycle of damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. States, territories, Indian tribal governments, and communities are encouraged to take advantage of funding by Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs in both before and after disasters.
State Hazard Mitigation Program Supervisor
Hazard Mitigation Planning
The purpose of hazard mitigation planning is to identify policies and actions that can be implemented over the long term to reduce risk and future losses of life, property, and economic injury.
State Hazard Mitigation Plan
The State of Iowa Hazard Mitigation Plan is an interagency plan that integrates local and State planning efforts through the State Hazard Mitigation Team and is comprised of representatives of several State, federal, and nonprofit agencies and associations, with the lead agency being HSEMD. Every five years, the team performs a hazard analysis and risk assessment in which hazards that may affect the state are identified. This information is then used to develop a Hazard Mitigation Strategy with goals, objectives, and measures to address the hazards.
If you would like to view the 2023 Iowa Hazard Mitigation Plan, contact a state hazard mitigation planner at 515-725-3231 or via Email.
Iowa is one of only 15 states and territories that have an Enhanced Mitigation Plan that has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Approval of an enhanced plan qualifies state and local governments to receive additional hazard mitigation disaster funding. In Iowa, this has made a difference of millions of dollars every year on average, which is crucial to funding projects to reduce or eliminate hazards and avoid disaster-caused damage and associated costs.
FEMA-approved local hazard mitigation plans are required in order to receive mitigation funding for state or local mitigation projects through the Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant program.
Local Hazard Mitigation Plans
Creating and maintaining current hazard mitigation plans (HMPs) is a requirement for State, Indian Tribal, and local governments to receive certain types of nonemergency disaster assistance – namely Hazard Mitigation Assistance. To qualify, local HMPs must be approved by FEMA within the last five years (i.e., they expire every five years and must be updated).
These plans are typically updated on a county-wide, multijurisdictional level, with county Emergency Management Agencies leading the effort. However, all jurisdictions seeking approval under the county-wide plan must participate in the planning process. Some counties also accomplish this planning on a region-wide or multi-county basis. Individual jurisdictions are also allowed to create or update local HMPs, although this is often a less efficient option.
Hazard mitigation grant programs provide significant opportunities to reduce or eliminate potential losses to State, Tribal, and local assets through hazard mitigation planning and project grant funding. As such, Iowa communities are encouraged to take advantage of funding provided by hazard mitigation programs in both the pre- and post-disaster timeframes.
Grant programs with mitigation plan requirements include:
- Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)
- Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC)
- Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA)
- Public Assistance (PA)
- Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM)
- PDM is only available with project-specific Congressional appropriation
It is important to note that the only way jurisdictions will be eligible for most of the disaster mitigation assistance available is by having a current, approved hazard mitigation plan. However, HMGP, BRIC, and FMA can be used to fund local hazard mitigation plan updates without a current plan. More information on these programs can be found on the Federal Emergency Management Agency website.
- Local Mitigation Planning Handbook (link to FEMA website)
- Hazard Mitigation Plan Review Tool (MS Word)
- Local Plan Status (PDF) – UPDATED MAY 2023
The HMA program has three sub-programs: Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC), Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program, Pre-Disaster Mitigation program (PDM), and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). HMGP funding becomes available only when a Presidential Disaster Declaration is made. PDM is only available when a project is specifically funded by Congress (talk to your Congressperson for more information). BRIC and FMA funding are nationally competitive programs available annually. Check to see if there are any current HMA grant program funds available.
In the course of executing your disaster recovery grant, you may encounter previously unknown cultural/historic artifacts. The Office of the State Archaeologist should be contacted if any archaeological deposits (artifacts) are exposed so that they can be investigated and the extent of the site determined.
Additionally, HSEMD and the State Historic Preservation Office must be informed to take proper action. In accordance with the Code of Iowa 263B, if human remains are unintentionally exposed, you must cease work immediately, secure the area, and contact local law enforcement and/or the county medical examiner. If the remains are determined to be ancient (greater than 150 years old), the Office of the State Archaeologist’s Bioarchaeology Program must also be notified.
Office of the State Archaeologist, (319) 384-0732
Bioarchaeology Program, Office of the State Archaeologist, (319) 384-0740
Recovery Division, Iowa Dept. of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, (515) 725-3231
Daniel Higginbottom, State Historic Preservation Office, (515) 281-8744
HAZARD MITIGATION GRANT PROGRAM (HMGP)
DR-4732 application is OPEN. Deadline: June 30, 2024
DR-4483 NOI application is closed.
DR-4642 NOI application is closed.
The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides grants to states, local governments, and Native American tribes for long-term hazard mitigation projects after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the program is to reduce the loss of life and property in future disasters by funding mitigation measures during the recovery phase of a natural disaster. States receive HMGP funding when a Presidential Disaster Declaration has been made.
- HMGP Applicant Briefing – (YouTube)
- Hazard Mitigation Planning Guidance (link to FEMA website)
- Hazard Mitigation Plan Review Tool (MS Word)
- Local Plan Status (PDF) – Updated May 2023
Hazard mitigation funding for the construction of tornado safe rooms in Iowa is limited to structures which serve a local governmental entity and are available to the public. There are no provisions under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to fund residential safe rooms directly to individuals.
To assist residents with Individual Safe Room criteria, please consult the FEMA 320 Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building or Installing a Safe Room for Your Home. This document outlines the specifications for the construction of a residential tornado safe room.
Support Materials for Emergency Management Partners
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