Problem

The Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires jurisdictions to develop and maintain a multi-hazard mitigation plan (MHMP) to remain eligible for certain federal disaster assistance and hazard mitigation funding programs. Hazard mitigation is defined as any sustained action to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to human life and property from hazards. Renewal of the plan every five years is required to encourage the continual awareness of mitigation strategies.

Solution

On behalf of the Indiana Department Homeland Security, the Polis Center has researched and prepared several Indiana Standard Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plans (SHMP), the most recent in 2019. By fulfilling the mitigation plan requirements, the plans have enabled Indiana to become eligible for a number of FEMA grants including the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program, Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) grant program, and other National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) grants.

2019 State of Indiana Standard Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan

The goal of mitigation is to reduce the future impacts of hazards including loss of life, property damage, disruption to local and regional economies, and the expenditure of public and private funds for recovery. Sound mitigation must be based upon sound risk assessment. A risk assessment involves quantifying the potential losses resulting from a disaster by assessing the vulnerability of buildings, infrastructure, and people. The Polis Center helps the State of Indiana prepare its mitigation plans. The process includes examining the disasters that impact the state and identifying high risk communities and areas of vulnerability, and exploring emerging threats. The state uses the plan to encourage local jurisdictions to adopt sound mitigation principles and activities, and allows the state to provide technical assistance and funding opportunities that help communities become more disaster resilient.

In 2010, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) conducted a unified state-level Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) to classify Indiana hazards as high risk, moderate risk, or low risk based upon the probability of occurrence and the potential impact. Combining the IDHS guidelines for hazard prioritization with community collaboration and feedback, The Polis Center helped the planning team prioritize their hazards. Flooding was identified as the hazard with highest level of risk and impact. Vulnerability to flooding was determined in three ways: 1) Hazus-MH Level 2 analysis, 2) analysis of community participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and 3) analysis of risk indicators in the Community Action Potential Index (CAPI).

The Indiana Standard Hazard Mitigation Plan (SHMP) seeks to examine the disasters that have impacted the state, identify high-risk communities and areas of vulnerability, and explore emerging threats. All of the assistance provided through federal and state funding has been, and will continue to be, granted to local and state agencies within the scope and guidance provided as required by federal, state, and local rules, laws, and regulations.

In the past decade, Indiana has received 9 federal disaster declarations, which have impacted 87 of its 92 counties. The most recent disaster (DR-4363) was declared on May 4, 2018 after melting snow and heavy rain resulted in extensive floods in northwestern Indiana and along the Ohio River in southern Indiana after a severe winter storm resulted in the second highest calendar day snowfall for Indianapolis. Some areas had 4 to 7 inches of precipitation above normal in February. It was the wettest February on record in Evansville.

By fulfilling the mitigation plan requirements for the state, the 2019 State of Indiana Standard Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan enables Indiana to become eligible for the following FEMA Grants:

  • Public Assistance (PA) Categories C through G (e.g., repairs to damaged infrastructure, publically owned buildings)
  • Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG)
  • Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) planning and project grants
  • Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) project grant
  • Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) planning and project grants

Since 2008, Indiana has received almost $50,000,000 in Mitigation grant funding through these programs.

To learn more, contact Jim Sparks.