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Hazard Mitigation

What is Hazard Mitigation and Hazard Mitigation Planning? Hazard Mitigation components

Hazard mitigation is any action taken to reduce the loss of life and property by lessening the impacts of disasters (natural, technological and man-made). It is often considered the first of the four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. Hazard mitigation is an important step in creating a more resilient community. 

Hazard mitigation can take many forms, including capital projects, policies, and education. Proactive mitigation leads to more cost-effective projects. By contrast, reactive mitigation tends to lead to severe damage repair and often more costly fixes; it simply costs too much to address the effects of disasters only after they happen. A surprising amount of damage can be prevented if we can anticipate where and how disasters occur, and take steps to prevent those damages.

The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000) is federal legislation that requires state and local governments to prepare local plans that will evaluate natural hazards and the strategies to mitigate such hazards. 

Hazard Mitigation in Onondaga County

Through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Onondaga County Department of Planning led the creation of a comprehensive, multi-jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan for the County and its participating municipalities. 

The 2019 Onondaga County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan Update was approved by the NYS DHSES and FEMA in August 2019, and adopted by the Onondaga County Legislature in November 2019, as an update to the original 2013 Onondaga County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. The Hazard Mitigation Plan identifies natural hazards of concern in our region, assesses our specific vulnerabilities to those hazards, and seeks to identify projects and measures that may reduce damages from future hazards. 

The plan is multi-jurisdictional, and serves as the plan for Onondaga County government, as well as 36 towns, villages, and public authorities within Onondaga County that have opted to participate in this cooperative planning effort. Each participating jurisdiction has its own chapter, or annex, as part of the overall plan. 

The plan identifies eight main natural hazards of concern in Onondaga County:

  • Drought - addresses drought events that have occurred in or had a considerable impact on the county
  • Earthquake - addresses earthquakes that have occurred in or had a considerable impact on the county
  • Flood - includes riverine, flash, shallow, ice jam, and dam failure flooding
  • Geologic - includes landslides, land subsidence, and mudboils
  • Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) - addresses out of control colonies of algae that produce toxins or have harmful health effects
  • Invasive Species - addresses invasive species that have the potential to affect the built environment and public infrastructure
  • Severe Storm - includes thunderstorms, hail, lightning, tornadoes, tropical storms, and Nor'Easters
  • Severe Winter Storm - includes heavy snowfall, blizzards, freezing rain/sleet, and ice storms


The study focuses on buildings, infrastructure and other critical facilities identified by municipalities, participants and stakeholders.

How does the Plan Benefit Onondaga County?

The Hazard Mitigation Plan assists Onondaga County and its municipalities with the following:

  • An increased understanding of the natural hazards the County faces.
  • Development of more sustainable and disaster-resistant communities.
  • Eligibility for federal funds for pre-disaster mitigation planning before disaster strikes.
  • Potential financial savings to residents, including flood insurance premium reductions.
  • Reduced long-term impacts and damages to human health and structures, and reduced repair costs.

How Can I Participate?

The Hazard Mitigation Plan will be reviewed and updated regularly, and we welcome your continued input into this living document.

During plan development and update processes, a series of formal public meetings are held to solicit public comment and to present the draft plan to residents and local officials. We also conduct a web-based survey for residents and stakeholders to inform the planning process.

Have a concern about a local hazard, a project idea for the next Plan update, or want to know more about the process? Please feel free to contact your local municipality or the Onondaga County Department of Planning for more information.

More information on hazard mitigation is available through the Resources page.




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