Disaster Preparedness Survey

You are invited to take a Community Disaster Preparedness Survey. This survey will help a Yakima County planning committee understand your experiences with disasters, potential impacts and the current preparedness of your household and the community as a whole.

The survey should only take about 5-7 minutes to complete. Your input will help Yakima Valley Emergency Management better serve our community members. You can access the survey at https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6797381/Yakima-County-Mitigation.  

Yakima County is currently updating its Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP). The HMP will help communities prevent significant property damage and loss of life in the event of a disaster. An important element of the HMP is community feedback, such as the Disaster Preparedness Survey.

The HMP is required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) every five years for our community to be eligible for certain types of grant funding. You can visit this page for project updates and ways that community members can influence plan development.

September 2020: Wildfire smoke in Downtown Yakima

Yakima County has experienced several natural and human-caused disasters in recent years – landslides, flooding, smoke from wildfires, and of course the COVID-19 pandemic.

The goal of the HMP Update project is to save lives, property, and natural resources by reducing the vulnerability of Yakima County to disaster events. During this planning project, local leaders and community members will identify risks, assess capabilities, and formulate a strategy to reduce our community’s disaster vulnerability.

Public and stakeholder participation and feedback is a vital part of the hazard mitigation planning process. Please check back regularly for information on upcoming opportunities to engage in the planning process. If you would like to get in touch with the project team, please use the following contact information.

Project Contact:
Tony Miller, Director

General Information

Every year, natural hazards like wildfires, flooding, and drought cause property damage, loss of life, economic hardship, and other threats to our community’s public safety. In 2021 alone, there were 21 events across the United States that caused more than one billion dollars in damages.

Our communities must address the response to these disasters – saving lives and property, and the recovery from disasters – repairing damages and making our community whole again.

Before a disaster strikes, we can also work to mitigate potential damages and loss of life. This is the goal of the hazard mitigation plan.

What is Hazard Mitigation?

Hazard mitigation is any sustainable action to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to human life and property from hazards. Mitigation breaks the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage.

Hazard mitigation projects are the ways we can lessen the impact of future disasters on our community. They are the things we can do in the short-term to be more protected in the future. Mitigation is a cost-effective way to reduce the risk of loss and help make communities in Yakima County more resilient. FEMA estimates that for every dollar invested in mitigation, we save six dollars in future costs during response and recovery to a disaster.

What is a Hazard Mitigation Plan?

A hazard mitigation plan is developed BEFORE a disaster strikes. Hazard mitigation planning has a wide range of benefits for our community. A well-organized plan will help us to document the hazards we face, the likelihood they will occur, and our community’s vulnerability to the effects of the hazards. It also lays out clear, community-informed goals and actions required for minimizing future loss of life, injury, property damage, and economic disruption.

The hazard mitigation plan will help to:

  • Protect human life and prevent damage or loss of property.
  • Ensure continuity of government services and local business.
  • Promote inter-agency coordination and response.
  • Increase public awareness and preparedness about hazards within the community.
  • Develop more sustainable and disaster-resistant communities.
  • Maintain compliance with Federal regulations and requirements for continued eligibility for mitigation grant funding. Plans must be updated and approved by FEMA every 5 years.

Under the federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000), communities that do not have a FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plan in place are no longer eligible for FEMA project grants under long standing programs such as the Flood Mitigation Assistance Program (FMA), Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and the Building Resilience Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC).

Planning Process

The 2022 HMP update will be organized into three distinct project phases.

Phase 1: Risk Analysis [April – June 2022]

In this phase, the planning team will engage residents, government officials, and subject matter experts to understand the unique assets in our community that should be protected, the hazards we face, and the risks posed to our community – the impacts on our most vulnerable assets and community members. This phase included a public meeting on April 11th to kick off the HMP.

Phase 2: Mitigation Strategy [June – September 2022]

In this phase, the planning team will develop a strategy that advances our shared mitigation goals, identified through public involvement efforts. The strategy will keep in mind our community’s existing plans, policies, and programs, and address our top priority hazards and identified risks from Phase 1. This strategy will include a clear action plan that prioritizes the different projects, plans, and policies that can mitigate property damage and loss of life from a disaster. Each action will be evaluated based on cost benefit, time frame, existing partnerships, and more.

Phase 3: Implementation & Monitoring [October 2022 through 2027]

With an action plan in hand, the planning team will work to identify local, state, and federal programs that can help advance our priority actions. The plan will be submitted to FEMA for approval, and then adopted by the Yakima County Commissioners at the city councils for each participating municipality. Every year, the planning team will meet to monitor and report on progress on identified mitigation actions. In 2027, the plan will be completely reviewed and updated, continuing on a five-year cycle. Continued implementation of mitigation actions will help us steadily reduce the risks posed by hazards to our community.

Public Involvement

Residents and community stakeholders will be regularly engaged in the hazard mitigation planning process. Key roles for members of the public include:

You can submit a public comment at any time during the planning process by emailing Leah Rausch at Leah.Rausch@i-s-consulting.com.