The planning process lays the foundation for developing an effective hazard mitigation plan (HMP) and outlines how the State will maintain, update, integrate, and improve the HMP over the next five years. The State of West Virginia is following a six-phase approach to update and enhance the current HMP.

Phase 1 – Planning Process – lays the groundwork for an effective planning process to update the current HMP to ensure it meets FEMA requirements. The following steps are achieved during this phase:

  • Identify stakeholders and participants for inclusion in the planning process and invite them to serve on the State Planning Team.
  • Review the current plan and develop an outline of updated recommendations, both editorial and substantive, to help the State meet federal expectations and the needs and interests of the State.
  • Develop and maintain a website to support broad project exposure by providing general information about hazard mitigation planning, the planning process, access to draft plan documents, and information about how the public and stakeholders can provide input to the planning process.
  • Initial kick-off meeting with the State Planning Team.
  • Update the state’s building inventory to support the hazard analysis and risk assessment.

Phase 2 – Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment – provides the factual basis for activities proposed in the mitigation strategy that will reduce losses from identified hazards. This phase of the plan allows the State to evaluate the risk to people, infrastructure, structures, and critical facilities that are vulnerable to hazards, and the degree to which injuries or damage may occur. The following steps are achieved during this phase:

  • Update the comprehensive risk assessment by reviewing existing risk assessments from other planning efforts (regional HMPs, THIRA, etc.), and using the best available and up-to-date spatial data to assess the risk and vulnerability of people, property, and the environment. This also includes reviewing and incorporating climate change data available for the State.
  • Identify the hazards of concern that pose a risk to the State and develop hazard profiles that will discuss the location, history of occurrences, probability of future occurrences, impacts from climate change, and risk assessment to show the impacts on state assets (buildings and infrastructure), vulnerable populations, critical facilities, and community lifelines.
  • Presentation to the State Planning Team explaining the findings of the risk assessment and public meetings to collect comments on the assessment.

Phase 3 – State Mitigation Capabilities and Local Planning Coordination and Capability Building – capabilities provide the means to accomplish mitigation in the State. The capability assessment identifies and builds the capabilities, at the state and local level, to reduce risk and increase resilience. The plan also The plan The following steps are achieved during this phase:

  • Assess the State’s mitigation capabilities by reviewing and evaluating state laws, regulations, policies, and programs related to hazard mitigation that improves or impede resilience to future natural hazard events and other future conditions, including the potential effects of climate change.
  • Webinars with plan participants to assess capabilities throughout the State to implement mitigation and to identify how related programs and documents can be integrated to create mitigation synergy.

Phase 4 – Mitigation Strategy – serves as the long-term blueprint for reducing the potential losses identified in the risk assessment. It is essential to lead statewide mitigation programs to reduce risk across the State of West Virginia.

  • Review and update the mitigation goals of the HMP to represent what the State wants to accomplish through implementing the HMP.
  • Working with various state agencies to review the mitigation actions in the 2018 HMP and conduct a status review of each action.
  • Working with the Planning Team, develop mitigation actions based on the results of the risk assessment and capability assessment.

Phase 5 – Update Plan, Public Forms, Final Plan – develop the plan update that meets FEMA requirements as laid out in 44 CFR 201.4. The updated plan discusses the following:

  • A description of the State’s effective use of available mitigation funding
  • A statement that the State understands and is in compliance with all applicable federal statutes and regulations related to grant funding as prescribed in 44 CFR §13.ll(c).
  • A description of the State’s commitment to address repetitive loss and severe repetitive loss structures, as noted in the Review and Develop Update Recommendations for Mitigation Actions section above
  • An explanation of how the State assesses the effectiveness of each mitigation action, and a description of how the State tracks potential losses avoided for each action taken
  • A description of mitigation-related activities that do not necessarily have a basis in a program or regulation, including any laws or policies enacted by the Legislature or by the Governor
  • A full report on accomplishments regarding implementing the 2018 State mitigation actions
  • Integration of the BRIC Program to replace the former Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Program that was in effect when the 2018 HMP was drafted
  • A copy of all agency endorsements
  • A description of the approval process
  • A description of the plan maintenance process, including a statement indicating that the plan will be amended whenever necessary to reflect new or revised federal regulations or statutes, or changes in State law, organization, policy, or State agency operation in accordance with 44 CFR §13.ll(d).

Phase 6 – Formal Adoption – Plan adoption by West Virginia’s highest elected official or designee demonstrates commitment to the mitigation strategy and communicates priorities to state agencies and key partners regarding vulnerability and mitigation measures. It may also increase awareness of, and support from, state agencies with mitigation capabilities and those responsible for vulnerable assets and communities beyond the state agency responsible for the mitigation planning program.