While we can not control the occurrence of events like tornadoes, floods or other disasters, we can directly influence the severity of impact by initiating pre-disaster mitigation planning, principles, and practices.
Mitigation actions are most often thought of as taking the form of structural or non-structural measures, but there are four basic approaches:
- Altering the Hazard: Modifying the hazard to eliminate or reduce the frequency of its occurrence. Examples include triggering avalanches under controlled conditions and reducing a storm’s energy through cloud seeding.
- Averting the Hazard: Redirecting the impact away from a vulnerable location by using structural devices or land treatment to shield people and development from harm. Examples include dikes, levees and dams.
- Adapting to the Hazard: Modifying structures and altering design standards of construction. Identified problem areas such as high wind, earthquake, land sliding or subsidence, and heavily forested terrain all require special building standards and construction practices in order to reduce vulnerability to damage.
- Avoiding the Hazard: Keep people away from the hazard area or limiting development and population in a risk area. Examples include enforcement actions such as zoning regulations, building codes and ordinances.