Natural and man-made hazards, such as floods, hurricanes and hazardous materials incidents are a part of the world around us. In some cases, their occurrence is natural and inevitable, and there is little we can do to control their force and intensity. In others, we have more power to control the intensity and probability, but can never truly eliminate the threat entirely. In either case, we must consider these hazards to be legitimate and significant threats to human life, safety, and property.
While the threat from hazardous events may never be fully eliminated, there is much we can do to lessen their potential impact upon our community and our citizens. By minimizing the impact of hazards upon our built environment, we can prevent such events from resulting in disasters. The concept and practice of reducing risks to people and property from known hazards is generally referred to as hazard mitigation.
Hazard mitigation techniques include both structural measures (such as strengthening or protecting buildings and infrastructure from the destructive forces of potential hazards) and non-structural measures (such as the adoption of sound land use policies and the creation of public awareness programs). It is widely accepted that the most effective mitigation measures are implemented at the local government level, where decisions on the regulation and control of development are ultimately made. A comprehensive mitigation approach addresses hazard vulnerabilities that exist today and in the foreseeable future. Therefore, it is essential that projected patterns of future development are evaluated and considered in terms of how that growth will increase or decrease a community’s overall hazard vulnerability.
A key component in the formulation of a comprehensive approach to hazard mitigation is to develop, adopt, and update a local hazard mitigation plan. A hazard mitigation plan establishes the broad community vision and guiding principles for reducing hazard risk, and further proposes specific mitigation actions to eliminate or reduce identified vulnerabilities.
Guilford County updated their Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan in January, 2016. A full copy of the plan can be downloaded by clicking the button below.