What is hazard mitigation planning?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) defines hazard mitigation planning as “any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effect.” Actions that have a long-term effect distinguish hazard mitigation from immediate preparedness, response and recovery activities.

What is Section 406 and Section 404 funding?

Following a federal Presidential Disaster Declaration, there are two main types of funding for public recovery and mitigation administered through FEMA under the Stafford Act, Section 406 and Section 404. Section 406 funding is for basic assistance to repair the damaged elements of public facilities and infrastructure (“recovery funds” or “public assistance”). Section 404 funding, which this website addresses, is generally known as mitigation funds, and is administered through a program called the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). Section 404 funds are generally available for a wider range of mitigation activities and the funds are open to the entire state, rather than just the community and facilities within the declared disaster area.

How can the The University of Iowa apply for Section 404, or Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), funding?

To be eligible for HMGP funds, a jurisdiction must have a FEMA approved mitigation plan. The planning process and plan requirements are outlined in section 201.6 of Title 44. The University followed the statutory criteria and now has an approved Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan (PDMP).

Who was involved in writing the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan?

Writing of the PDMP was coordinated through the Department of Risk Management. A Steering Committee included individuals from across campus, the City of Iowa City, the City of Coralville, Johnson County Emergency Management, and Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Acknowledgements are located in the PDMP. The Plan Coordinator received assistance from individuals in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop certain sections of the PDMP and ensure all statutory requirements for specific content were met.

What was the timeline for plan approval?

Following institutional adoption of the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan (PDMP), the University of Iowa forwarded the PDMP to the State Hazard Mitigation Officer (SHMO) for initial review and coordination. The SHMO then sent the PDMP to the appropriate FEMA Regional Office for formal review and approval.

The University of Iowa Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan was formally approved by FEMA in September 2009. The University of Iowa Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan was so highly regarded by FEMA that it is now being used as a template for other academic institutions.

How can the public be involved in mitigation planning at The University of Iowa?

The University of Iowa hosted a public meeting on Tuesday August 25 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. in the Indiana Room at the Iowa Memorial Union. This meeting was open to all interested community members, regardless of their affiliation with the University. Everyone was welcome to learn about the PDMP, the planning process and hazard mitigation in general. The meeting began with a Power Point slideshow, which lasted for approximately half an hour, followed by an open question and answer format. Both the slideshow and the FEMA approved PDMP are posted as PDF documents. All meeting minutes are posted in an appendix in the PDMP. Links are at the bottom of this page.

How is the PDMP different from “all the other emergency plans” at The University of Iowa?

The Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan is not an emergency plan, per se. The PDMP is not intended to be used to respond to emergencies when they occur, in comparison with the Critical Incident Management Plan (CIMP). The PDMP is a structured document based on a risk assessment of all natural disasters that could occur on the University of Iowa campus, as well as a few combination or man-made hazards. Hazards are rated using a hazard rating system. The PDMP reviews mitigation actions that could be implemented before a disaster to make the University more resilient. One of the primary functions of mitigation planning is to enable a community to identify and diminish risks prior to a disaster.

What are the next steps for The University of Iowa Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan?

As the UI recovers from the flood of 2008 and considers other natural disasters that may impact campus, the PDMP will be consulted to see what improvements to infrastructure can be incorporated into new projects. Whenever possible, the UI will apply for HMGP funds to assist with funding.

FEMA expects local jurisdictions, in this instance the UI, to regularly review and revise its PDMP to reflect changes in development, progress in local mitigation efforts, and changes in priorities, and resubmit the plan for approval within 5 years in order to continue to be eligible for HMGP funding.

Who can I contact at The University of Iowa for more information on mitigation planning?

For more information on The University of Iowa Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan, or to submit comments and suggestions for improvements to the PDMP, please email camille-cooling@uiowa.edu.