Hazard Mitigation Plan Update 2023

What is a Hazard Mitigation Plan?

Hazard mitigation planning is a proactive effort to identify long-term strategies and actions that can be taken to reduce the dangers to life and property from natural hazard events such as extreme weather, flooding, tornadoes, wildfire, or infectious diseases. The Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires all municipalities that wish to be eligible to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding for hazard mitigation grants to adopt a local multi-hazard mitigation plan and update this plan in five-year intervals. The Plan includes risk assessments, hazard mitigation goals and actionable measures. FEMA approval, and Town adoption, of the Hazard Mitigation Plan allows the Town to apply for pre- and post-disaster hazard mitigation grant funds.

The original Reading Hazard Mitigation Plan was adopted in 2010 and updated in 2017

Timeline for 2023 Update

In late 2022 the Town kicked off the process to update our Hazard Mitigation Plan. This plan was being developed by a Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee comprised of Town leaders and local stakeholders. Jamie Caplan Consulting LLC, a Northampton, MA based firm, led this effort on behalf of the Town and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

We held several public meetings in early spring and summer 2023 to gather citizen feedback and ideas for making the Town more resilient to natural hazards and presented the Draft plan at a meeting of the Climate Advisory Committee. The Draft Plan is now out for approval by MEMA and FEMA. 

Prior Public Engagement Events:

The Draft Plan was presented for comments and discussion at the Climate Advisory Committee meeting on August 23, 2023 at 7pm. 

A virtual public meeting was held on Wednesday July 19, 2023 from 6:30 - 7:30pm. A recording of the full event is available for download here.

A virtual public meeting was held on Wednesday April 12, 2023 from 6-7pm. A copy of the presentation slides can be found here and a recording of the full event is available for download here.

Related Work on the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Plan

In 2020 the Town developed a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Plan that identified possible actions to mitigate risks to natural hazards and climate change. The goal of that grant program and Plan were to engage the community in conversation about climate resilience. While the ultimate goal and use of the MVP Plan differs from the Hazard Mitigation Plan, we incorporated many of the community goals into the 2023 Mitigation Plan update.