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Substantiating Mitigation—Florida’s Loss-Avoidance Assessment Strategy
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Another Multihazard Mitigation Council's Webinar from the Series Addressing Pressing Aspects of Hazards Mitigation

10/28/2014
When: October 28, 2014
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Presenter: Carly Forster, Long-Term Recovery and Hazard Mitigation Team Lead


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"Substantiating Mitigation—Florida’s Loss-Avoidance Assessment Strategy,” will be presented by Carly Forster, Long-Term Recovery and Hazard Mitigation Team Lead for the Risk and Resiliency Group at ARCADIS. In the October webinar, Forster will talk about Florida’s assessment strategy for its mitigation efforts.

Before most mitigation projects are approved for funding, they are subject to benefit-cost analyses. These analyses estimate the potential losses avoided due to natural hazard events over the life of the project (benefits). If the estimated benefits outweigh the costs of the project, which take the form of capital costs and maintenance costs, a project is considered to be cost beneficial. Because policymakers have taken an interest in the effectiveness of mitigation during actual hazard events, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and states complete loss-avoidance assessments to evaluate project success post-disaster. These evaluations also estimate what damages would have occurred during the disaster if the mitigation project had not been implemented. Historically, these assessments have been somewhat difficult to implement and it was thought that only engineers could accomplish them.

The state of Florida commissioned the development of simple loss-avoidance calculators for flood and wind mitigation projects in order to facilitate the loss avoidance process, and thus encourage greater investment in mitigation by demonstrating its actual benefits. These calculators help cut some of the long corners in traditional loss avoidance assessments to make the process more accessible for local entities and other states. During the webinar, Forster will discuss how the calculators were developed, demonstrate how to prepare a loss avoidance assessment, show how to use the calculators and emphasize the importance of data gathering pre- and post-disaster, as well as throughout project management.

Foster is a specialist in hazard mitigation, benefit cost analysis, safe growth analysis at ARCADIS, a leading global natural and built asset design and consultancy firm. She is a FEMA-recognized Hazus practitioner, Certified Floodplain Manager and certified planner recognized by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Forster is a proponent of comprehensive risk management, which requires integrating business continuity, hazard mitigation, smart growth and emergency preparedness, response, recovery and post-disaster redevelopment planning mechanisms. She has been active in long-term recovery and mitigation planning activities throughout the South and Northeastern United States, including in New York and New Jersey as those states recover from Sandy. Foster develops mitigation strategies and programs for small and large-scale clients. She writes protocol for state-level FEMA program management and developed the methodology and system the state of Florida will be using to conduct loss-avoidance studies for implemented flood and wind mitigation projects.

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