The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) define hazard mitigation as any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards such as flooding, storms, and high heat. Mitigation efforts undertaken by communities will help to minimize damages to buildings and infrastructure, such as water supplies, sewers, and utility transmission lines, as well as natural, cultural and historic resources.
Planning efforts, like the one undertaken by the City of Easthampton in collaboration with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC), make mitigation a proactive process. Pre-disaster planning emphasizes actions that can be taken before a natural disaster occurs. Future property damage and loss of life can be reduced or prevented by a mitigation program that addresses the unique geography, demography, economy, and land use of a community within the context of each of the specific potential natural hazards that may threaten it.
Natural Hazard and Mitigation Plans are updated every five years. The City of Easthampton developed their first Hazard Mitigation plan in collaboration with the PVPC in 2007-2008 and it was approved by FEMA on 2/10/2009. The plan expired on 2/10/14. This plan is an update to the 2009 plan. While there have not been any significant changes in development in Easthampton since 2009, the plan update reflects the city staff's work on implementation of the 2009 plan's prioritized mitigation strategies.