Committee Approves Pre-Disaster Mitigation Bill, Diaz-Balart: Mitigation Saves Lives and Reduces Costs
Washington, DC – A program to help save lives and limit potential damages in communities before natural disasters strike would be reauthorized under a bill approved by a Congressional panel today. The bill is cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), the Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee Ranking Member.
H.R. 1746, the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Act of 2009, is a three-year reauthorization of the Pre-Disaster Mitigation program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The program provides for proactive, cost-effective steps to help state and local governments prepare for disasters and reduce the impacts of disasters on people’s lives and property.
“Mitigation works,” said Diaz-Balart. “It saves lives, limits future damage, and reduces federal disaster costs.”
Installing shatter-resistant windows, seismic strengthening of buildings, and acquiring flood-prone homes are examples of mitigation activities undertaken through this program to help prevent disaster-related injuries and deaths and reduce post-disaster costs. Storm shutters installed in five Broward County, Florida fire stations, for example, helped the buildings withstand Hurricane Wilma when it struck and allowed those stations to function in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
“The Pre-Disaster Mitigation program is a proven success,” Diaz-Balart continued. “Two independent studies have shown that for each federal mitigation dollar spent the taxpayer saves over three dollars in future disaster assistance. The program is an important resource for communities working to protect lives and reduce property damage from disasters.”
The bill authorizes $250 million per year for fiscal years 2009-2011. The bill was unanimously approved by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.