The University of New Mexico has taken a more proactive role when it comes to disaster preparedness. For the past two years, UNM has been developing a Natural Hazard Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan. This approach to disaster management has led to proven results in the reduction of property damage and risk to life in the case of a natural disaster on other campuses.

The Pre-disaster Hazard Mitigation Act of 2010 (PDM) passed the House of Representatives in December 2010. The program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), provides financial and technical assistance to state and local governments in the case of natural disasters. UNM has taken the lead by creating the first approved jurisdictional PDM plan in New Mexico over the last three years, and the first university plan approved in New Mexico.

"Disasters cannot be prevented, but their consequences can be minimized by thoughtful, community-based risk analysis, which PDM encourages," said Jim Mullen of the National Emergency Management Association. "Pre-disaster mitigation is a wise and necessary investment in the safety of a university and the neighboring communities."

Mitigation planning for disasters involves identifying potential hazards and then setting goals for breaking the cycle of disaster, damage reconstruction and repeated damage. Examples of natural disasters in New Mexico may be wind damage, hail and or tornados. By developing an effective long term mitigation plan, the campus communities will be more resistant to damage due to natural disasters and be able to get back to business more effectively.

For more information visit: UNM's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan.

Story by and media contact: Serena Pearson (505) 277-2855; e-mail: