Whether your community is developing a single jurisdiction plan or is participating in a multi-jurisdictional planning process, strong leadership is needed throughout the planning process. One of the first steps is to assign the agency or individual that will lead the mitigation planning effort.
Northern Colorado, CO
Northern Colorado was chosen as a best practice as it identified the person and agency responsible for coordinating the planning process and implementing the plan: the Office of Emergency Management of Larimer County The director of the Office served as facilitator of the Steering Committee meetings. The Steering Committee consisted of representatives from the following agencies:
Coastal Bend Council of Governments, TX
The Coastal Bend Council of Governments Hazard Mitigation Plan was chosen as a best practice because they formed a steering committee with members from each participating jurisdiction and clearly identified the roles of the committee.
“The roles and responsibilities of the participating jurisdictions and HMCs are enumerated in the Interlocal Agreement. In general, the HMCs [Hazard Mitigation Coordinators] served as members of the Steering Committee and as liaisons to their respective jurisdictions. Each HMC provided project briefings to appropriate individuals in their own jurisdiction, and collected input for the hazard mitigation strategy…Early on, a Steering Committee was established to guide the direction of project activities. This committee evolved into the core multi-jurisdictional Planning Team, consisting of the HMCs for the participating jurisdictions. The Steering Committee met on a regular basis to provide input to the development of the Mitigation Action Plan.”
Task 2 further describes the process of identifying planning team members and engaging local leadership, while Task 3 provides additional information about developing an outreach strategy framework and including a wide range of stakeholders.
Mitigation planning takes time and effort. Be aware of the available resources—human, technical, and financial— that your jurisdiction has to complete this planning effort. Combining resources with other jurisdictions through a multi-jurisdictional planning effort as described previously may save time and money, or may leverage subject matter expertise. Alternatively, specific parts of the planning process or plan preparation may require technical assistance. If outside technical assistance is needed to help develop the plan, consider how to leverage this assistance to build long-term community capabilities.
Although developing a hazard mitigation plan does not require formal training in community planning, engineering, or science, it may be helpful to get outside expertise in some areas. For instance, you could seek assistance with:
- Identifying hazards, assessing vulnerabilities, and understanding significant risks.
- Facilitating planning team meetings, public involvement, and decision making activities.
- Creating an organized and functional plan document, including maps or other graphics.
There are several different options when considering outside assistance for plan development. Consider contracting with your regional planning agency or working with a local university with planning or emergency management degree programs. You may also contact another community that has already completed the planning process for suggestions. Before enlisting outside assistance from any of these sources, consider the scope of work, the extent of assistance required, and the level of interaction between the consulting service providers and other members of the planning team.
Private consultants are an additional resource available to assist in the coordination, facilitation, and execution of the mitigation planning process. If your community decides to hire a consultant, consider looking for a professional community planner who:
- Recognizes the unique demographic, geographic, technical, and political considerations of each participating community.
- Demonstrates knowledge or experience with land use and community development.
- Understands all the applicable policies and regulations as they apply to the mitigation plan, including federal law, FEMA guidance, and state and local ordinances.
- Recognizes that community input and public participation are integral to any successful mitigation plan.
- Exhibits familiarity with emergency management and multi-hazard mitigation concepts.
- Provides past performance information and references.
Additional information on hiring and working with a planning consultant can be found on the American Planning Association website.