Delta County; the City of Delta; the Towns of Cedaredge, Hotchkiss, Orchard City, and Paonia; the Hotchkiss Fire District; and the Paonia Fire District have prepared a local hazard mitigation plan to guide hazard mitigation planning to better protect the people and property of the County from the effects of disasters. Additionally, proactive mitigation planning will help reduce the costs of disaster response and recovery by protecting critical community facilities, reducing liability exposure, and minimizing overall community impacts and disruptions. An approved hazard mitigation plan allows the County eligibility to FEMA mitigation funding programs, both pre- and post-disaster. It does not affect the County’s or participating jurisdictions’ access to disaster assistance programs.
What is Hazard Mitigation?
Each year in the United States, disasters take the lives of hundreds of people and injure thousands more. Nationwide, taxpayers pay billions of dollars annually to help communities, organizations, businesses, and individuals recover from disasters. Many natural disasters are predictable, and much of the damage caused by these events can be alleviated or even eliminated.
Hazard mitigation is defined by FEMA as “any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to human life and property from a hazard event.” The results of a three-year, congressionally mandated independent study to assess future savings from mitigation activities provides evidence that mitigation activities are highly cost-effective. On average, each dollar spent on mitigation saves society an average of $4 in avoided future losses in addition to saving lives and preventing injuries (National Institute of Building Science Multihazard Mitigation Council 2005).
The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires that local governments have hazard mitigation plans approved by FEMA to be eligible for hazard mitigation funding programs. Hazard mitigation planning is the process through which hazards that threaten communities are identified, likely impacts of those hazards are determined, mitigation goals are set, and appropriate strategies to lessen impacts are determined, prioritized, and implemented. The planning process is heavily dependent on the participation of representatives from local government agencies and departments, the general public, and other stakeholder groups.
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The Delta County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan
The Delta County plan specifically addresses the following natural and manmade hazards:
• Dam Failure
• Expansive Soils
• Hazardous Materials Release
• Landslide, Mudflow/Debris Flow, Rock Fall
• Winter Weather
Public comments on the plan have been approved, as appropriate. The plan is currently under review by the Colorado Division of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). When the agencies have approved the plan and their comments have been incorporated, it will be posted here.
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The following resources provide more information about hazard mitigation and hazard mitigation planning.
FEMA: Hazard Mitigation Planning
Colorado Division of Emergency Management: Mitigation
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