Task 2: The Planning Team’s first steps

The initial steps of the hazard planning process usually involve a series of work sessions or meetings such as the plan kick-off meeting. Such meetings generally focus on introducing the team members, defining the roles and responsibilities of the team, explaining the overall purpose of the mitigation plan, suggesting who else could participate in the planning process, and confirming the scope and schedule of the mitigation plan. Following are some of the outcomes of a plan kickoff meeting:

1.) Validate plan purpose: The planning team should agree to the overall purpose of the mitigation plan and understand the result that the community wants to achieve when the plan is executed. Certain communities may issue a mission testimonial that describes the intended outcome in a short, simple statement in order to drive the planning process. Such a step can help in bringing together the planning team around a common cause and intention, and serves as a foundation to propel the process. Validating the plan purpose can also help communicate the motive of the plan to the public, elected representatives, and stakeholders. If your community receives FEMA’s mitigation planning grant, it may include communication on the subject of the mitigation plan’s general-purpose that need to be implemented. The scope of the plan often comprises more information on the objectives and background of the overall mission.

2.) Assess the existing mitigation plan: If you opt for updating your existing mitigation plan, a broad assessment of the previously approved plan of your community can serve as a good starting point to help recognize development ideas and identify areas that need more resources, time, and efforts. This can impact the overall scope and schedule of the mitigation plan.

3.) Clarify plan’s scope and schedule: In the plan kickoff meeting, the planning team needs to agree upon the overall scope and schedule of the mitigation plan to update or develop the plan and assess the plan’s requirements to get FEMA’s approval. If your community received FEMA’s grant to build the hazard plan, it’s possible that the plan’s scope and schedule have already been developed, or the grant means to help start a more comprehensive work plan. Ensure that every team member leaves the kickoff meeting with a proper understanding of the overall purpose, tasks, scope, schedule, agendas, and objectives of the planning process. The upcoming tasks on this website can help you to set up a schedule and outline for future team meetings. See Worksheet 2.2 for a sample schedule.

4.) Ascertain responsibilities: At the start of the planning process, the planning team needs to ascertain specific roles and responsibilities. The team members ought to have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, assigned tasks, and the time they are required to dedicate to implement the mitigation plan. Consequently, you’ll be able to spot any potential shortfalls or gaps early in the planning process, and the resources required to successfully carry out the mitigation plan.

5.) Build an outreach strategy: Determining the right individuals other than the planning team members to participate in the mitigation planning process is another critical task of the planning team. Building an outreach strategy can help identify the qualified stakeholders as well as the general public to participate in the planning process and engage them throughout the process.