Hazard mitigation is an action to help reduce long-term risks caused by hazards or disasters, such as flooding, earthquakes, or wildfires. The purpose of hazard mitigation is to protect people and structures, and minimize the costs of disaster response and recovery. Hazard mitigation can take many forms: capital projects, policies, education, and environmental protection.
Proactive mitigation leads to more cost-effective projects. By contrast, reactive mitigation, tends to lead to severe damage and often more costly fixes; it simply costs too much to address the effects of disasters only after they happen. A surprising amount of damage can be prevented if we can anticipate where and how disasters occur, and take steps to prevent those damages.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages multi-jurisdictional planning for hazard mitigation. We participate in the Westchester County Multijurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP). The most recent update to the plan was adopted in 2021. A Planning Partnership was formed to leverage resources and meet requirements for the federal Disaster Mitigation Action of 2000 (DMA). Westchester County Department of Emergency Services – Office of Emergency Management (WCDES-OEM) solicited the participation of all incorporated cities, towns and villages within the County. Each planning partner prepared a jurisdictional annex to the plan.
Jurisdictional annexes provide a unique, stand-alone guide to mitigation planning for each jurisdiction. The Westchester County HMP Update is organized so that there is an annex for Westchester County and for every jurisdiction within the County’s borders. Section 9 (Jurisdictional Annexes) includes an annex for every jurisdiction in Westchester County.