FEMA’s Beyond the Basics

Beyond the Basics is designed to help local governments prepare a new, or update an existing, hazard mitigation plan.  It is based largely on FEMA’s Local Mitigation Planning Handbook (2013), but features additional examples of best practices drawn from local hazard mitigation plans in the U.S.   In essence, we took the FEMA handbook and added excerpts from some of the best mitigation plans we found.  In many cases, these plans go beyond the minimum required for approval by FEMA. Hence, the name Beyond the Basics.   Either FEMA’s handbook or this website can be used to prepare a high quality local hazard mitigation plan.  For more information about the hazard mitigation plans from which many of the examples included in this website were drawn, see About Beyond the Basics.

Best Practices in Local Mitigation Planning: Beyond the Basics website was developed as part of a multi-year research study funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Coastal Resilience Center and led by the Center for Sustainable Community Design within the Institute for the Environment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Institute for Sustainable Coastal Communities at Texas A&M University.

The figure above shows the four recommended steps for conducting a risk assessment. The desired outcomes of these steps are 1) an evaluation of each hazard’s potential impacts on the people, economy, and built and natural environments in the planning area and 2) an understanding of each community’s overall vulnerability and most significant risks. These potential impacts and the overall vulnerability can be used to create problem statements and identify mitigation actions to reduce risk.