Motivate to Mitigate!
November 25, 2013
On behalf of the State of Montana Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) Division, I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to not only learn about mitigation but to implement mitigation in your school, in your community and in your home.
On 1 November 2013 FEMA informed us that our State of Montana Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan Update was approved and in good standing for the next three years, possibly for the next five years. And as a part of that update process, we in partnership with Tetra Tech developed a High School curriculum to introduce Mitigation into the classroom. That curriculum should be hitting the classrooms now. For the next year at least we will maintain and update this website and the blog with that purpose in mind; to motivate young people to mitigate.
As the State Hazard Mitigation Officer for nearly the last nine years the biggest problem I have encountered has been changing paradigms. Some, but not all leaders at the local level still hold onto the mistaken idea that we can control nature. Not only day to day but also during extreme events. However, reasonable people understand that we are not forces of nature ourselves and cannot ultimately control natural disasters.
But we can mitigate them. We can reduce future damages and loss of life through effective mitigation techniques. And we can save a lot of money in future response and recovery costs through the foresight of implementing mitigation activities.
So where to begin? First take a look at your local County Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan. What are the risks from natural hazards where you live? How can they be mitigated? From my experience, nearly every natural hazard can be mitigated in some fashion. Once your risk is identified along with the proper mitigation technique, has the mitigation project been initiated or completed? If not why not?
That is the question I would like to see young people start asking their community leadership. And don’t take “No” for an answer. Its your future as well and mitigation is the key.
We will continuously update our links with the most current information, particularly your local Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator. That person is your primary point of contact for mitigation activities.
So go forth and mitigate. It’s the smart thing to do.
Kent Atwood, CFM
Hazard Mitigation Officer
State of Montana
PO Box 4789
Fort Harrison, MT 59636-4789