The Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA) has been notified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that Georgia’s Hazard Mitigation Strategy (GHMS) has been officially approved, renewing its “enhanced” status. Georgia is one of only ten states that enjoys this enhanced status.

This enables Georgia to continue to be eligible for 33 percent more federal funds through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) following a presidentially declared disaster. During historic flooding in March 2009 and September 2009, Georgia communities received an additional $9.8 million in HMGP funds because of its enhanced plan status.

“I am proud of our hazard mitigation team and the local partners who helped achieve this enhanced status, which will make the state eligible to receive additional funding in future federal disasters,” says GEMA/Homeland Security Director Charley English. “This will enable Georgia to continue to build disaster-resilient communities.” The Hazard Mitigation Planning Team received a Governor’s Customer Service Commendation for their efforts on this project.
 
Georgia is at risk for a variety of natural disasters, including floods, tornadoes, high winds and hurricanes. Mitigation measures reduce or eliminate the impact from these hazards. The focus of the Hazard Mitigation Division is to provide a comprehensive risk-reduction program that protects people and property by reducing their exposure to these natural hazards.

GHMS identifies the state’s risks and vulnerabilities to multiple hazards, identifies goals, objectives and actions to address them, and provides a comprehensive framework for statewide disaster mitigation actions. The enhanced status designation is valid through March 31, 2014.

As part of the approval process, Georgia also demonstrated its ability to effectively manage federal hazard mitigation grant funding and to track and measure performance outcomes of completed mitigation projects. 

For more information on GEMA, visit www.gema.ga.gov. To learn how to prepare for disaster and create a custom kit and plan, visit www.ready.ga.gov. Follow GEMA at www.twitter.com/georgiaema, www.facebook.com/gema.ohs, and www.youtube.com/ReadyGAfromGEMA.