Hazard Mitigation Plan

The basics of a hazard mitigation plan.
Hazard mitigation planning helps to protect the community from the risks and damage to life and property from natural hazards.

What are hazards?
Natural hazards include earthquakes, flooding, severe storms (ice, wind and rain), climate change, drought, failure of dams, volcano, wildfire, tsunami (seiche), and avalanche. These hazards can destroy homes and lives, block roads, impede emergency services, cut off power, interrupt water and sewer service, and make it difficult to obtain food, water, shelter or health care.

Why plan for natural hazards?
The basic purpose of hazard mitigation planning is to reduce risks and damage to life and property from natural hazards. By having a plan, the City is able to identify and adopt policies and regulations to help protect the community, know what technical resources it has and needs to be effective, identify important infrastructure improvements and to develop a financial strategy. It also allows the City to be eligible for federal funding and grants to help recover from a disaster.

What does hazard mitigation planning mean?
Hazard mitigation planning addresses how the community can avoid being affected by a natural hazard (if possible) and what measures the City and community can take to reduce potential impacts of a natural hazard. The planning process identifies the natural hazards most likely to occur in Mountlake Terrace, how much relative risk each represents, which natural hazard has the highest potential to do significant damage and what the relative fiscal impacts could be. The hazard mitigation plan also identifies steps the City and community can take to avoid and minimize exposure to and the consequences of potential disasters.

What is the City doing?
The City has developed and adopted a "Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan" (HMP or Plan). The Plan was developed in partnership with Snohomish County and 32 jurisdictions and special districts throughout the County. The cooperative approach establishes a consistent approach and foundation for natural hazard planning. In addition, each community developed a customized HMP to address their community's specific issues and needs. The plan must be updated and approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) every five years. Regular updates of the Plan allow the City to evaluate steps the City has taken to implement the plan, such as amend regulations to provide more protection of the environment such as restrict clearing of and construction on steep slopes, or to increase building construction standards to withstand impact of earthquakes. The update is also needed to meet current requirements in state and federal law and remain eligible for federal funding.

What did the City's Plan identify as important steps to take?
The City's HMP identified a number of actions to take to increase preparedness for and ability to coup with a disaster, including, but not limited to:   

  • Assure there is adequate potable water and fire flow.
  • Upgrade building standards for new construction and retrofit existing buildings.
  • Conserve resources.
  • Preserve open space and acquire open space that can help mitigate hazards.
  • Prohibit certain uses and activities in critical areas (steep and unstable slopes, wetlands, flood areas).
  • Keep public infrastructure plans up to date (sewer, water and storm drainage).
  • Build regional partnerships, especially in emergency management.
  • Ensure the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan is up to date.
  • Educate the community and emergency service providers.

How can the City and community prepare?

​There are numerous ways to be better prepared for a natural hazard's occurrence. A variety of approaches that minimize risks from hazards are listed in the plan and described briefly here:
  • Prevention,
  • Property Protection,
  • Public Education and Awareness,
  • Natural Resource Protection,
  • Emergency Services, and
  • Structural Projects.

To read the Hazard Mitigation Plan:
The hazard mitigation plan is located here: https://snohomishcountywa.gov/2243/Mitigation

The City of Mountlake Terrace is Annex Number 15, which can be viewed on our 15 City of Mountlake Terrace Annex (PDF)