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Hazard Mitigation Planning Resources

Please visit the 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 and planning grants visit our Local Hazard Mitigation Plan page.


Planning Process and Getting Started

The planning process should start and end with the Plan Review Tool. 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.

IMPORTANT UPDATE  If your plan is going to be submitted to VEM for review and approval in 2023, follow the updated FEMA Local Mitigation Planning Policy Guidance and Local Plan Review Tool effective in 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. 

The Vermont Local Hazard Mitigation Plan Review Tool Guide for FEMA Approval – 2021 provides a user-friendly explanation of requirements under each element.

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.


Community Engagement

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.

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.


Climate and Hazard Data

The following section includes resources to help communities and planners meet the hazard "extent" requirement for 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. Plan developers can adapt the Hazard Assessment Table from the 2018 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.

Flooding 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

Landslide

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.

Extreme Temperature

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

Tornado

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

Hurricane 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

Earthquake

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

Hail

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

Drought

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 Drought.gov 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

Snow 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

Wildfire

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.

High 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

Miscellaneous and Multi-Hazard

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 more 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.

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.

 


Mitigation 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.

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 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.

Please contact the State Hazard Mitigation Planner with specific questions at caroline.massa@vermont.gov.