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Hazard Mitigation

What is Hazard Mitigation?

Hazard mitigation, as defined by FEMA, is sustained action taken to eliminate or reduce long-term risk to people and their property from various hazards.

Hazard mitigation plans represent a road map for a community's long-term strategy to reduce disaster losses and break the cycle of repeated destruction by natural hazard events. The planning process used to develop hazard mitigation plans involves risk-based decision making to reduce damage to people, property, and infrastructure from future disasters. 

2012 Howard County Hazard Mitigation Plan Update

Local governments are required to develop and update their hazard mitigation plan as a condition for receiving certain types of non-emergency disaster assistance from FEMA, including funding for mitigation projects.

Howard County developed its first hazard mitigation plan in 2004. This plan is currently being evaluated and updated, as required by FEMA once every 5 years.

Read the hazard mitigation fact sheet.

Key features of the 2012 Howard County Hazard Mitigation Plan Update

  • Re-evaluation of 2004 hazard profiles, risk assessment, mitigation goals, actions and priorities
  • Improved stakeholder coordination between county departments and involvement of outside agencies
  • Continued compliance with the national flood insurance program
  • Integration of hazard mitigation principles with other planning processes (comprehensive plan, zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations, stormwater management plan, and recreation plan)
  • County flood mitigation plan that includes a detailed flood risk assessment and flood mitigation recommendations. 

Hazard Mitigation Plan Update Process Key Milestones

  • Plan update kick-off - November 2010
  • Hazard identification and risk assessment - April 2011
  • Mitigation strategy - May / June 2011
  • Draft plan for review by County staff & supervisors -June 2012 
  • Plan submittal to MEMA / FEMA - August 2012
  • Final plan approval by County council - October / November 2012
  • Plan reproduction/distribution - December 2012

Due to recent natural hazards, further plan revisions are being made. 

Hazard Mitigation Plan Update Meeting Schedule Meetings Completed

Mitigation plan review steering committee meeting #1
When: November 8th, 2010
Where: Gateway Building Room 401

  • Review the plan update process
  • Develop/discuss the work plan
  • Assign tasks to committee members

Read the meeting minutes. 

Mitigation plan review steering committee meeting #2
When: March 8th, 2011
Where: Howard Building, Clarksville Room

  • Review the planning process, timeline and grant funding
  • Review hazards
  • Review task matrix
  • Identify stakeholders

Read the meeting minutes.

Mitigation work group session
When: May 17th, 2011
Where: Gateway Building Room 401

  • Review hazard identification and risk assessment
  • Review 2004 mitigation actions
  • Review proposed mitigations actions from various departments
  • Solicit input on new mitigation actions
  • Discuss responsible departments and priorities

Mitigation plan review steering committee meeting #3 (internal meeting, not open to the public)
When: June 14th, 2011
Where: Gateway Building, Room 401

  • Finalize hazard identification and risk assessment
  • Review 2004 mitigation actions
  • Finalize proposed mitigation actions from various departments
  • Finalize the plan layout and table of contents

Read the meeting minutes.


Mitigation plan review steering committee meeting #4 (internal meeting, not open to the public)
When: October 18, 2011
Where: Ligon Building, Policy Room

  • Review draft goals and objectives
  • Review list of current mitigation action items
  • Brainstorm new mitigation action items based on recent natural hazards

Read the meeting minutes.


Public meeting (external meeting, open to the public) 

When: June 28th, 2011
Where: Gateway Building Room 401
Discuss highlights of:

  • Planning process
  • Hazard identification and risk assessment
  • Goals and objectives
  • Mitigation strategy
  • Implementation plan 

Read the meeting minutes.

Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment Update (not prioritized)

  • Severe winter weather  
  • Floods  
  • Extreme heat and drought
  • Tornados
  • Hurricanes and tropical storms 
  • Wildfires 
  • Earthquakes
  • Severe thunder storms and high winds

Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan (by section)


Contact Us!

Contact us, we would love to hear from you!
E-mail us, or fax your comments to 410-461-4216  


The 2011 natural hazards mitigation plan will be available for review at:

The Howard County Office of Emergency Management
6751 Columbia Gateway Drive
4th floor
Columbia, MD 21046


County libraries

Central | 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway | Columbia, MD 21044

Columbia | 6600 Cradlerock Way | Columbia, MD 21045

Elkridge | 6540 Washington Boulevard | Elkridge, MD 21075

Glenwood | 2350 State Route 97 | Cooksville, MD 21723

Miller | 9421 Frederick Road | Ellicott City, MD 21042

Savage | 9525 Durness Lane | Laurel, MD 20723


Steering Committee

  • Office of Emergency Management
  • Department of Inspection, Licensing and Permits
  • Department of Planning and Zoning
  • Public Information Office
  • Department of Public Works
  • Department of Technology and Communication Services
  • Department of Fire and Rescue Services
  • Howard County Police Department
  • Department of Recreation and Parks
  • Risk Management
  • Health Department


  • All department representatives on the Emergency Management Advisory Group (EMAG)

  • Community Emergency Response Network (CERN)
  • Howard County Public School System
  • Howard County Community College
  • Economic Development Authority
  • Office of Law
  • Columbia Association
  • Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, and Montgomery County OEMs.