Mitigation is the permanent alteration of the physical, legal, financial and other resource environments to reduce the adverse impacts of disasters.
Mitigation efforts are often thought as bringing the greatest return on investment in disaster management.
Classic examples of mitigation include instituting appropriate building codes for known hazards, such as earthquakes and floods; enforcing transportation routes for hazardous materials to circumvent human population centers; and developing and acquiring specialized equipment needed in the event of a disaster.
Examples of mitigation efforts that protect animals include wind breaks for livestock exposed to blizzards, elevated dirt mounds for livestock living in floodplains to move to as flood waters rise, and ensuring the supply chain for sufficient and appropriate feed and water are available to animals exposed to temperature extremes are examples of changes to the physical environment that mitigate disasters for livestock.
Mitigation efforts that reduce adverse impacts on the animal health infrastructure, i.e., the public, private and non-government services and facilities in a community that support animal wellbeing, include legislation, regulations, and their enforcement. Emergency managers also like to see commitments that set minimal standards for the care of animals and make available resources to achieve and maintain those standards during disasters.
Insurance is another mitigation tool and, although not available in the U.S., countrywide insurance plans have been developed in Peru and Kenya that disperse the financial risk resulting from animal disease outbreaks and droughts, respectively, to raising livestock during non-disaster times and ensuring adequate funding for response and recovery once disaster strike.
Animaldisasters.com provides a unique resource for mitigation of disasters affecting animals. Through our blog we provide a unique opportunity for innovators, vendors, service providers and animal lovers to share their ideas on how to mitigate the impact of disasters on animals. We also are working to establish a searchable library on mitigation references.
Examples and recommendations for mitigation activities include:
Experts working with animaldisasters.com have extensive knowledge and experience of helping communities and businesses develop effective emergency plans. With your participation we can help communities develop well thought out plans incorporate the needs of animals and their owners into the Emergency Operations Plan of the community. Become part of an engaged network of planners for the care of animals who can work side by side on problem solving long before disaster strikes and in ways that are beneficial to the response to a disaster.