Miller speaks on role of mitigation in building strong communities

Mitigation programs developed by FEMA help to build stronger communities and a nation more resilient to disasters and terrorism, David Miller, the associate administrator of FEMA's Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, said on Wednesday.

Miller made the remarks during his testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Emergency Management, Intergovernmental Relations and the District of Columbia. The hearing was entitled "The Role of Mitigation in Reducing Federal Expenditures for Disaster Response."

Miller defined mitigation as the capabilities needed to reduce loss of life and property by reducing the impact of disasters. Mitigation capabilities include efforts to improve infrastructure resiliency, community-wide risk reduction projects, risk reduction for specific vulnerabilities from terrorism and initiatives to reduce future risks following a disaster.

"Mitigation efforts support more rapid recovery from disasters and lessen the financial impact of disasters on the nation," Miller said. "Stringent building codes, flood-proofing requirements, earthquake design standards, wind-bracing requirements for new construction, and repair of existing buildings are all examples of mitigation in action."

FEMA made significant strides in mitigation over the last three years, Miller said. He said the agency brought the larger mitigation community together around shared doctrine. By partnering with tribal, local, state and territorial governments, FEMA provides communities with the tools, information and funding they need to make risk reduction decisions.

"Successful mitigation efforts are a shared responsibility requiring the engagement of all levels of society and of government," Miller said. "Through its mitigation programs, FEMA educates, incentivizes and funds state, local, tribal, and territorial efforts to build stronger communities that collectively create a nation more resilient to an increasing number and intensity of hazards."