Executive Summary. Disaster Resistant Communities Initiative: Evaluation Of The Pilot Phase. Year 1

In 1995, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) unveiled a new national effort to encourage state and local adoption of mitigation policies and programs in an attempt to reduce escalating disaster relief and recovery costs (FEMA 1995). In 1996, Director James Lee Witt, acknowledging that “all mitigation is local,” convened a set of roundtable discussions, which included constituents from outside the traditional emergency management profession, to consider different approaches to local level adoption of mitigation programs. Out of these discussions came a new program, originally called the Disaster Resistant Community Initiative, now known as Project Impact. The overall goal of Project Impact is “to bring communities together to take actions that prepare for-and protect themselves against-natural disasters in a collaborative effort” (FEMA 1997). Unlike other FEMA grant programs, the mitigation activities and strategies were to be developed by the communities themselves to meet local needs and to reflect local social and political cultures. This was expected to be a “bottom up” approach to mitigation. Guidance to the communities in how to meet this goal was provided in four objectives: to build community pastnerships; to identify hazards and community vulnerability; to prioritize risk reduction actions; and to develop communication strategies to educate the public about Project Impact.
Disaster resistant Communities, Project Impact, Hazards, Risk Reductions