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The National Institute of Building Sciences Multihazard Mitigation Council (MMC), with the financial support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the International Code Council (ICC) and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), is beginning a new study to look at the cost effectiveness of disaster mitigation efforts in the public sector, as well as the benefits of using codes to mitigate the impact of natural disasters in the private sector. The Institute is continuing to seek additional supporters as this research effort gets under way.
In 2005, the MMC completed an independent study, funded by FEMA, to quantify the future savings from that agency’s natural hazard mitigation efforts. The finding, “For every public dollar spent on mitigation, there is a savings of $4 to society.1” clearly indicated that FEMA's natural hazard grant mitigation programs had been extremely effective in reducing future losses from earthquake, wind and flood. The resulting report, Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: An Independent Study to Access the future Savings from Mitigation Activities, has become one of the most oft-quoted works on the importance of investing in mitigation and has since been referenced by numerous sources, including members of the U.S. Congress and the media.
In the 12 years since that data was collected, the people of the United States have experienced a host of severe hazard events—hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, floods—a total of 1,653 disaster declarations from 2003 through 20152.
The outcome of these events will be reflected in a new study, for which the MMC will:
The initial study established that mitigation saves money for the public sector. An even stronger case can be made if private-sector investments are included. However, the magnitude of the savings has yet to be quantified. This new study, which will deliver the cost-benefit data for a variety of stakeholders, should provide the demonstrable proof.
The Institute continues to seek other organizations to support this national effort by providing funding for this project. To participate, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about the original study, Mitigation Saves, and the work of the Multihazard Mitigation Council.