The purpose of the Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) is to establish an ongoing process that makes hazard mitigation part of the daily functioning of the entire community, including both public and private sectors and our residents themselves. The LMS is a multi-jurisdictional ‘all-hazards’ mitigation plan that serves as a bridge between local governments’ comprehensive growth management plans, the County’s comprehensive emergency management plan, land development regulations, and relevant ordinances and codes such as those for floodplain management. The LMS integrates mitigation initiatives established through various policies, programs, and regulations into a single, stand-alone working document.
Mitigation plans identify potential hazards and vulnerabilities, set goals and establish specific mitigation actions to reduce risk of natural or man-made or natural hazards to people, buildings, infrastructure and the environment. Local mitigation plans are required under Section 322 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) as enacted under the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 in order to be eligible for federal hazard mitigation grants.
HISTORY OF THE PINELLAS COUNTY LOCAL MITIGATION STRATEGY
The Pinellas County LMS was originally adopted in 1998 and then again in 2005, 2010 and 2015. Comprehensive updates are now required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) every five years. In addition to the 5-year FEMA updates, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) also requires certain sections to be updated annually, including reviewing and updating planned mitigation projects. County government, twenty-three municipal partners, other governmental agencies, local universities and various non-profits all participate in the LMS and contribute to these update processes.
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
In addition to preparing residents for the potential impacts of various types of hazards and allowing the County to receive federal grant funding in the event of a declared disaster, the LMS plays an important role by serving as the County’s Floodplain Management Plan in the Community Rating System (CRS) program. CRS a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum National Flood Insurance Program requirements. Participating local governments are evaluated on their flood prevention/mitigation programs and receive a CRS score. The score directly correlates to the percentage of premium decrease applied to every flood insurance policy held by property owners within that local government.
WHERE TO FIND MORE INFORMATION
The true value of the LMS is that it is a dynamic document which is updated and revised annually as goals are reached or priorities shifted. For more information about preparedness and mitigation, or the LMS, residents can refer to the links on the left-hand side of this web page, or contact the Pinellas County Planning Department at 727-464-8200.