Berrien County Hazard Mitigation Plan
This information is included as the basis and beginning sections of the Berrien County Hazard Mitigation Plan. This plan is revised and adopted every 5 years.
Many licensed businesses in Michigan are required to maintain emergency plans and, as part of those plans, must conduct a hazard vulnerability assessment (HVA). Although they may use the county Hazard Mitigation Plan to assess threats and risk to their community, the intent of a facility HVA is to assess the threats and risk within their property boundaries and surrounding neighborhoods.
In our assessment of local hazards, we classify them into different types, as you may see below, which helps us to compare these hazards and helps us to develop an all-hazards emergency plan - meaning we develop a basic plan that addresses what needs to be done no matter what the hazard is and then refine specific things we may need to do for our most prevalent hazards. This approach makes the planning process efficient, reasonable, and manageable.
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Understanding Hazard Mitigation
Disasters can cause loss of life, damage buildings and infrastructure, and have devastating consequences for a community’s economic, social, and environmental well-being.
Hazard mitigation is any action taken to lessen the impact of known hazards that cause disasters. It is fully defined as an effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the likely impacts of disasters (natural, technological, and man-made).
The Mitigation Plan helps us to:
- Increase understanding of the disaster hazards the County faces.
- Develop more sustainable and resilient communities.
- Become eligible for federal funds for pre-disaster mitigation projects before disaster strikes.
- Potentially provide financial savings to residents, including flood insurance premium reductions.
- Reduce long-term impacts and damages to human health and structures, and reduced repair costs.
Types of Mitigation Projects or Actions:
There are four primary types of mitigation actions to reduce long-term vulnerability and include:
- Local Plans and Regulations – plans, policies, or codes that influence the way land and buildings are developed and built.
- Structure and Infrastructure Projects – upgrading existing structures and infrastructure to protect them from a hazard or remove from hazard area; constructing manmade structures to reduce the impact of hazards.
- Natural Systems Protection – minimize damage and losses and preserve/restore the functions of the environment.
- Education and Outreach Programs – inform and education citizens about hazards and ways to mitigate them.
Common mitigation actions may include the following:
- Enforcement of building codes, floodplain management codes, and environmental regulations.
- Public safety measures such as upgrades of roadways, culverts, and dams.
- Acquisition or relocation of structures, such as purchasing buildings located in a floodplain.
- Acquisition of hazard prone lands in their undeveloped state to ensure they remain so.
- Retrofitting structures and design of new construction such as elevating a public building.
- Protecting critical facilities and infrastructure from future hazard events.
- Mitigation, disaster recovery, and Continuity of Operations (COOP) planning.
- Development and distribution of outreach materials related to hazard mitigation.
- Deployment of warning systems.
- Drainage system upgrades.