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Hazard Mitigation Planning Resources

Please visit FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Planning website for a comprehensive collection of hazard mitigation resources. A few selected tools, guidance documents, and trainings from FEMA and other sources are highlighted on this page.

For an overview of Vermont specific information on Local Hazard Mitigation Plans (LHMPs) and planning grants visit our Local Hazard Mitigation Plan page.

On this page find more information on:

Planning Process and Getting Started

Building Codes and NFIP

Risk and Vulnerability

Community Engagement

Climate and Hazard Data

Mitigation Strategy and Actions


AnchorPlanning Process and Getting Started

For Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) 2022 LHMP grant subrecipients, kick-off meeting slides and recording are available at the following links: slides and recording.

For Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) 2021 LHMP grant subrecipients, kick-off meeting slides and recording are available at the following links: slides and recording.

Utilizing the Plan Review Tool from the beginning of the planning process is highly recommended in order to ensure the plan meets FEMA requirements at submittal. The elements in the Plan Review Tool are essential to meet requirements of 44 CFR 201 for FEMA-approval. The Plan Review Tool can be found in the FEMA Local Mitigation Plan Review Guide.

FEMA has released the new Local Mitigation Planning Handbook to be used for meeting requirements of the new policy guidance effective 2023.

IMPORTANT UPDATE  Follow the updated FEMA Local Mitigation Planning Policy Guidance and Local Plan Review Tool effective in 2023 (same as linked above as of January 2023). Key updates are noted in the VT Aid - 2022 Local MP Policy Guide - Major Changes in Effect 2023. Please check the FEMA Mitigation Planning Policy Updates website for additional resources.

Refer to Steps for Approval for basic benchmarks of LHMP process and the Local Mitigation Plan Review Tool Guide 2023 - VT Supplemental Aid for a checklist of requirements for LHMPs.

Additional Guides and Training

The FEMA Region I Reference Guides: Demonstrating Good Practices within Local Hazard Mitigation Plans publication describes and models practices which communities and planning staff can use in developing a federally approvable hazard mitigation plan. 

There are a number of on-demand web-based training, training materials, and other resources available of the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Planning – Create a Hazard Mitigation Plan page.

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.

FEMA's Climate Change website provides links to further explore the connection between emergency management and climate change.

The American Planning Association (APA) provides occasional live web-based trainings and planning guides based on current research on hazard mitigation planning.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Storm Smart Cities Guide examines how communities can integrate green infrastructure into their Local Hazard Mitigation Plan.

AnchorBuilding Codes and NFIP

The State of Vermont has adopted building codes for commercial building safety and energy standards. The energy code also applies to residential buildings. Codes enforced by Vermont’s Division of Fire Safety are the 2015 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1 Fire Code, 2015 NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, the 2015 International Building Code (IBC), 2017 NFPA 70 National Electrical Code, 2021 International Code Council (ICC) International Plumbing Code, and the 2015 National Board Inspection Code from the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors. Vermont does not have statewide residential building code as the adoption and enforcement of residential building code in Vermont is determined at the local level.

Few municipalities in Vermont have residential building codes that control how a building is constructed. NFIP compliance requires local policy that regulates where homes are built. Work with the designated building inspector and floodplain administrator in your community to document building code and NFIP compliance in the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan.


 B2-c. Does the plan address NFIP-insured structures within each jurisdiction that have been repetitively damaged by floods? 

Please contact FEMA Region I directly for NFIP repetitive loss data. Contact Ryan Fisher at Click the email address for a draft email request. Each plan needs the number and types (residential, commercial, institutional, municipal etc) of NFIP repetitive loss properties in the planning area.


C2. Does the plan address each jurisdiction’s participation in the NFIP and continued compliance with NFIP requirements, as appropriate? (Requirement 44 CFR § 201.6(c)(3)(ii))

Please refer to the VT DEC Substantial Damage Short Guide for an overview of repairs, restoration, and substantial damage to buildings in the Special Flood Hazard Area. Generally, substantial improvements in non-disaster times will follow a similar local permit review process as substantial damage.

Examples of text that should be included in the plan are as follows:

1.    The Planning and Zoning Department reviews all plans before any permits are issued. The Department reviews plans to determine SD and SI, and once approved, the Town building inspector can then issue a building permit. The Town building official then reviews plans as noted above for the town.
2.    The Planning and Zoning Staff review zoning permits, and work with the Building Department to determine SI/SD. These permits are then subject to Section 9.3 in the Land Development Regulations.
3.    The Building Official reviews building permits and the Planning and Zoning Commission reviews all zoning permits, and together the two departments work together to determine SD and SI. Permits are then subject to Section 16.15 in the Zoning Regulations.
4.    The Planning and Zoning Commission reviews all zoning permits prior to the commencement of any development activities. The Commission works with the Building Department to ensure SD and SI has been determined and incorporated into the plans.

AnchorRisk and Vulnerability

Utilize the FEMA Flood Map Service Center for preliminary (best available) and effective Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).

The ANR Natural Resources Atlas is a comprehensive mapping tool for accessing mapped data in Vermont.

The VTrans Transportation Resilience Planning Tool is a web-based application that identifies bridges, culverts, and road embankments that are vulnerable to damage from floods, estimates risk based on the vulnerability, and criticality of roadway segments, and identifies potential mitigation measures based on the factors driving the vulnerability. This is a great tool for prioritizing projects. We also recommend reviewing the VTrans Resilience Improvement Plan.

FEMA has created the National Risk Index (NRI) to assist communities in determining risk to natural hazards. The NRI integrates data from the CDC Social Vulnerability Index. Please note that the NRI does not account for the impact of climate change on hazard probability.

FEMA's Resilience Analysis and Planning Tool (RAPT) includes over 100 preloaded GIS layers including community resilience indicators from peer-reviewed research, the most current census demographic data, infrastructure data, and data on weather, hazards, and risk. RAPT also includes easy to use analysis tools, the ability to add in data from other sources, and print and download functions.

Learn more about vulnerability indicators in Vermont on the Vermont Department of Health's Vulnerability Indicators website.

The Northeast-Midwest Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal consists of a variety of data, user-friendly applications and planning tools that can be used to help prioritize areas for mitigation that might be necessary to reduce risk from wildfires.

For jurisdictions that are seeking HHPD eligibility, the Vermont Dam Inventory (VDI) is a database containing spatial, structural, historic, and regulatory information on most dams in Vermont.

AnchorCommunity Engagement

poster showing stickers placed to indicate where participants determined a hazard ranks in Panton.
Poster from a Panton hazard ranking
meeting provided by ACRPC.

Public participation is one of the most important parts of the planning process. Giving in-person and virtual participation opportunities will allow a broader audience to provide input and learn about the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. Be creative, and meet the needs of your whole community.

Online surveys are a great way to gather input from residents, business owners, and other stakeholders in the community. Feel free to use the Microsoft Forms Community Stakeholder Survey template by creating a duplicate and editing the survey to include the planning community’s name, priorities, goals, proposed actions, and how survey takers can find the previous plan's mitigation strategy. All questions are set to be optional. There are also options to tailor the survey to plans that are updates or those that are new plans. You may use the word version if you prefer to use a different survey platform or print paper surveys. Share the survey on the municipal website, electronic newsletters, Front Porch Forum, and others social media platforms.

Connecting People to Power details a community engagement pilot program conducted in three communities in Vermont (Bennington, Northeast Kingdom, and Burlington/Winooski) starting in 2021. Those engagements informed specific recommendations to DEC on tools and techniques to conduct more equitable and inclusive community engagement. Lessons learned can have broader application in informing our community engagement in hazard mitigation planning.

FEMA's Guide to Supporting Engagement and Resiliency in Rural Communities examines specific approaches to community participation in rural areas.

FEMA Region II's Guide to Expanding Mitigation dives into integrating equity into the hazard mitigation planning process.

Community Resilience Building is a unique, “anywhere at any scale”, community-driven process, rich with information, experience, and dialogue, where participants identify top hazards, current strengths, challenges, and priority actions to improve community resilience for all hazards today, and in the future.

Visit the Flood Ready Safe Family and Friends site for additional resources how to plan in a way that maintains healthy communities.

AnchorClimate and Hazard Data

The following section includes resources to help communities and planners meet the requirements for hazard "extent" and history of occurrences for your LHMPs. For any hazard included in the LHMP that does not have data available, please state that extent data is unavailable and provide a reason why.

You can refer the LHMP reader to the SHMP for more details on a hazard, and to see hazard scales such as the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Or include the hazard scales right in the LHMP to meet extent requirements where applicable.

Plan developers can use this hazard assessment template from the 2023 Vermont SHMP to ensure every hazard that can impact the community has been considered for probability and impact and prioritize hazards for inclusion in the community's LHMP.

For a list of disaster declarations see FEMA's Disaster Declarations for States and Counties

Jump to: Flooding and Fluvial Erosion | Landslide | Extreme Temperature | Tornado | Hurricane and Tropical Storm | Earthquake | Hail | Drought | Snow and Ice | Wildfire | High Winds | Miscellaneous and Multi-Hazard (Climate Change)


AnchorFlooding and Fluvial Erosion

Extent of flooding can be indicated by the number of inches of rain and/or river gage data.

Select the appropriate location, product type: calendar day summaries, and variable: precipitation. Please see the Youtube tutorial linked below for more detailed instruction.

Select a point (river gage) and click the Access Data link in the pop-up window. Select Peak streamflow from the Available Data table and select Table from the Output Formats Table. Use gage height or streamflow columns, streamflow in CFS is recommended if comparing multiple years of data. Note superscript footnotes.

  • Extent for fluvial erosion can be indicated by number of acres or feet lost due to erosion. Please refer to local records.

Please see the YouTube tutorial for more detailed instruction. Flooding and Fluvial Erosion: Collecting and Understanding Hazard Data


Extent can be indicated by number of acres or feet lost (height and width).
Refer to the Vermont ANR Landslide Inventory.

Please see the YouTube tutorial for more detailed instruction: Landslides: Collecting and Understanding Hazard Data

More information on landslide hazards in Vermont can be found on the Landslides, Rockfalls and Erosion website.

AnchorExtreme Temperature (Heat / Cold)

Extent can be indicated in lowest and highest recorded temperatures.

Select location, product type calendar day summaries, and variable: max temp or min temp.

Please see the YouTube tutorial for more detailed instruction: Extreme Temperature: Collecting and Understanding Hazard Data


Extent is indicated with the Fujita Scale (F0 through F5)
Refer to NOAA Storm Events Database
Select Vermont, Begin Date (starts at 1950, go back as far as previous plan update), End Date (present date), County, and Event Type – Tornado, then press the Search button.

Please see the YouTube tutorial for more detailed instruction: Tornado: Collecting and Understanding Hazard Data

AnchorHurricane and Tropical Storm

Extent shown with the Saffir-Simpson scale (Tropical Storm through Category 5, and associated wind speeds)
Refer to NOAA Storm Events Database
Select Vermont, Begin Date (starts at 1950, go back as far as previous plan update), End Date (present date), County, and Event Type(s) – Hurricane, Tropical Storm, Tropical Depression - then press the Search button. To select multiple event types hold the ctrl key on PC or clover command key on Apple computers.

Please see the YouTube tutorial for more detailed instruction: Hurricanes and Tropical Storms: Collecting and Understanding Hazard Data


Extent indicated by the Richter scale.
Refer to USGS Earthquake Catalog and Weston Observatory Earthquake List.

Please see the YouTube tutorial for more detailed instruction: Earthquakes: Collecting and Understanding Hazard Data


Extent shown in size of hail.
Refer to the NOAA Storm Events Database
Select Vermont, Begin Date (starts at 1950, go back as far as previous plan update), End Date (present date), County, and Event Type(s) – Hail, and then press the Search button.

Please see the YouTube tutorial for more detailed instruction: Hail: Collecting and Understanding Hazard Data


Extent of drought can be measured using multiple indices and indexes appropriate for different locations, climates, and date ranges. Learn more about Drought Indicators. The Drought Since 2000 dataset from the U.S. Drought Monitor is simplest to use for purposes of finding extent data for local hazard mitigation plans. This dataset shows location and intensity of drought with a five-category system, labeled Abnormally Dry or D0, (a precursor to drought, not actually drought), and Moderate (D1), Severe (D2), Extreme (D3) and Exceptional (D4) Drought.
Refer primarily to National Integrated Drought Information System
You can also use maps on the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Select your region from the By Location Dropdown menu or the Vermont map, scroll to the bottom of the page, and download the XML or CSV available at the bottom of the 2000 - Present (Weekly) graph.

Please see the YouTube tutorial for more detailed instruction: Drought: Collecting and Understanding Hazard Data

AnchorSnow and Ice

Extent can be indicated by inches of ice or power outages in hours without power.
Refer to the NOAA Storm Events Database
Select Vermont, Begin Date (starts at 1950, go back as far as previous plan update), End Date (present date), County, and Event Type(s) – Avalanche, Blizzard, Cold/ Wind Chill, Extreme Cold/Wind Chill, Freezing Fog, Froze/Freeze, Heavy Snow, Lake Effect Snow, and Winter Storm - then press the Search button. To select multiple event types hold the ctrl key on PC or clover command key on Apple computers. These are only suggested event types and are not mandatory.

Please see the YouTube tutorial for more detailed instruction: Snow and Ice: Collecting and Understanding Hazard Data


Extent shown in number of acres lost. Please request data from local Fire Warden. Fire Warden Directory
Some datapoints can be seen on the WFIGS - Wildland Fire Locations Full History mapper.

AnchorHigh Winds

Extent is indicted by wind speed in mph or knots.
Refer to NOAA Storm Events Database

Please see the YouTube tutorial for more detailed instruction: High Wind: Collecting and Understanding Hazard Data

Invasive Species

Utilize the Vermont Forest Invasive Pest Status Map to see where a selection of invasive species have been found across Vermont.

AnchorMiscellaneous and Multi-Hazard

Find historic weather and projected climate trends by town at the The Climate Explorer website. The maps and graphs are excellent references for LHMPs.

For impacts on the built and natural landscape refer to the Climate Change Mapping Tool

For temperature and precipitation trends refer to the Vermont Climate Data Grapher

For Vermont-specific information on climate change and health impacts refer to the Vermont Department of Health Climate and Health website. Here you will find information related hot weather, winter weather, extreme weather events, tickborne diseases, mosquito-borne diseases, cyanobacteria, drought, waterborne and foodborne diseases, air quality (including pollen and mold), mental health, Urban Heat Islands, and vulnerable populations as they relate to climate change.

Learn more about climate change impacts at the EPA Climate Change Impacts website.

Review the Vermont Climate Assessment produced by UVM and other partners released in November 2021 for best and most recent available data on climate changes in Vermont.

Refer to the Fourth National Climate Assessment for the science behind climate change and its impacts nationally and regionally.


AnchorMitigation Strategy and Actions

To prioritize potential mitigation actions, FEMA recommends using the STAPLEE method. The STAPLEE evaluation method uses seven criteria for evaluating a mitigation action: Social, Technical, Administrative, Political, Legal, Economic, and Environmental. Refer to the STAPLEE Evaluation Criteria for Mitigation Actions Guide for instructions on how to use the STAPLEE method.

Plan developers and communities can use the FEMA Region 1 Action Worksheet to develop prioritized mitigation actions that meet FEMA standards for inclusion in the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan.

FEMA Region I has provided Mitigation Ideas: Possible Mitigation Measures by Hazard Type specific to our region.

FEMA's Mitigation Ideas: A Resource for Reducing Risk to Natural Hazards provides mitigation ideas applicable to the entire United States.

FEMA's Building Community Resilience with Nature-Based Solutions: A Guide for Local Communities provides mitigation ideas for protecting and better integrating natural systems in our built environment. In March 2023 FEMA released the second guide in the series titled Building Community Resilience
with Nature-Based Solutions: Strategies for Success

Refer to FEMA Region X's Engineering with Nature: Alternative Techniques to Riprap Bank Stabilization for natural and nature-based solutions to fluvial erosion that will restore and protect natural systems.

The HUD Community Resilience Toolkit is a user-friendly guide to help recipients of HUD Community Planning and Development (CPD) funds identify opportunities to use their CPD dollars to mitigate the impacts of natural related hazards.

Engineering with Nature is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) program that provides resources on the intentional alignment of natural and engineering processes. The website contains trainings, publications, and case studies. The International Guidelines on Natural and Nature-Based Features (NNBF) for Flood Risk Management provide practitioners with the best available information concerning the conceptualization, planning, design, engineering, construction, and maintenance of NNBF to support resilience and flood risk reduction for coastlines, bays, and estuaries, as well as river and freshwater systems.

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) provides guidance based on their studies of utilizing nature-based solutions for hazard mitigation projects, learn more on the ELI Hazard Mitigation Planning site.

The Floodplain Buyouts: An Action Guide for Local Governments on How to Maximize Community Benefits, Habitat Connectivity, and Resilience publication was produced by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Institute for the Environment and the Environmental Law Institute.

Naturally Resilient Communities is a partnership amongst multiple organizations to produce a guide of nature-based solutions and case studies from across the country. The website contains a number of case studies and related resources on nature-based solutions.

Promoting Nature-Based Hazard Mitigation Through FEMA Mitigation Grants produced by AECOM on behalf of TNC is a publication intended for stakeholders pursuing FEMA HMA grants for nature-based solution to mitigation risks associated with flooding and wildlife.

The National Wildlife Federation has launched a new online database,, that aims to easily connect community planners and other stakeholders with sources of federal funding for infrastructure projects that incorporate natural elements.

Visit the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange for useful studies and case studies on climate change adaptation. Scroll to the map to view resources filtered for the Northeast.


We are here to provide support!

Please contact State Hazard Mitigation Planner Caroline Paske at with specific questions or to request a virtual meeting.