Strong Leadership for Planning Process & Technical Assistance

Strong leadership is required all through the planning process whether the community has decided to participate in a multi-jurisdictional planning process or develop a single jurisdiction plan. The first important step is to appoint the person or agency with leadership qualities to lead the mitigation planning effort.

In the planning process, those local agencies that have vested interest and responsibility in mitigation must be included. For instance, in local government, the staff of the community planning and development, and emergency management possesses unique knowledge and experience. They can be the natural leaders for your community’s mitigation planning process. The community planning and development agencies are familiar with land use plans, zoning and subdivision regulations, long-term funding and planning mechanisms to implement mitigation strategies and economic development initiatives. Their staff may also be trained to develop a plan document, conduct meetings, and facilitate public outreach. The staff of the local emergency management is considerate of local hazards, threats, outcomes, and risks. They also may have extensive experience working with Federal and State agencies on mitigation plans and actions.

Besides leadership, determine which agency has the time as well as resources to carry out the entire hazard planning process. Additionally, each participating jurisdiction in the multi-jurisdictional plans determines a lead envoy to coordinate the planning process of their community.

Technical Assistance

It takes time and effort to carry out mitigation planning. Have knowledge of the available resources such as human, financial and technical that your jurisdiction possesses to implement the hazard planning efforts. Opting for a multi-jurisdictional planning effort will combine resources with other jurisdictions that may help leverage expertise in the subject matter, and save time and money. On the other hand, technical assistance may be required for the plan preparation or specific parts of the planning process. To develop the plan, if outside technical assistance is required, determine how to leverage this assistance to build community capabilities in the long-term.

No formal training in community planning, science or engineering is required to develop a mitigation plan. However, it can be useful to gain some expertise in certain areas. For example:

  • Recognize hazards, appraise vulnerabilities, and comprehend considerable risks.
  • Facilitate decision making actions, public involvement, and meetings for the planning team.
  • Create an organized, practical, and purposeful plan document, which includes maps or other related graphics.

When considering outside technical assistance for the development of your hazard plan, you can choose from several different options. You can either work with a local university that offers emergency management or planning degree programs or contract with your regional planning agency. You can even get in touch with another community that has successfully finished the planning process and seek suggestions. Prior to getting any outside technical assistance, think about the scope of work, the level of assistance needed, and the extent of interaction between the members of the planning team and the service providers.

Private consultants can also be sought to assist in the facilitation, coordination, and implementation of your community’s mitigation planning process. When you decide to hire a private consultant, look for an expert community planner who can:

  • Comprehend all the regulations and policies applicable to the mitigation plan, which includes FEMA guidance, federal law, and local and state ordinances.
  • Exhibit experience and knowledge with community development and land use.
  • Identify the unique geographic, demographic, political, and technical considerations of each participating jurisdiction.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the concepts of a multi-hazard mitigation plan and emergency management.
  • Understand that public participation and community input are essential for the success of any mitigation plan.
  • Provide references and exhibit past performance.

Contact us at the Institute for more information on hiring and working with a planning consultant.