3. WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO DEVELOP THIS UPDATE?
Structured processes were used to develop the two major sections of the 2019 Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) Update – Hazard Specific and All Hazards. The process included an extensive review of existing plans and studies, soliciting feedback and incorporating the ideas of the Hazard Mitigation Planning Partners, following up with one-on-one meetings between New York City agencies and the Planning Team, and analyzing this input to present New York City’s risks and the most effective mitigation strategies clearly.
This section will describe the processes associated with each of the three main initiatives:
- Reviewing and incorporating existing plans and studies
- Developing the mitigation-strategy section of the HMP
- Developing the risk-assessment section of the HMP
Review and Incorporation of Existing Plans and Studies
To provide a foundation for its work for the 2019 HMP update, the Planning Team members reviewed existing plans, studies, and guides. This extensive review included:
- New York City’s 2009 and 2014 HMP and the comparable plans prepared by surrounding jurisdictions and other cities
- FEMA guidance documents
- Climate change studies
- Community plans
- Federal, local, and state regulations and ordinances
The list of studies and plans reviewed by the Planning Team is presented here:
Plans and Studies Consulted in the Development of the HMP
*This is not an exhaustive list of plans and studies used for the development of the HMP. For a list of more studies please see the bibliographies from each hazard profile.
Development of the Risk Assessment Chapter of the HMP
To develop the Risk Assessment chapter of the plan, the Planning Team followed these steps:
- Surveying Hazard Mitigation Partners
- Analyzing hazards and causes
- Prioritizing New York City’s risks for the HMP update
Surveying Hazard Mitigation Partners
Following the December 2017 kick-off event, the Planning Team sent a survey to the Hazard Mitigation Planning Partners that asked them to select what they felt to be the greatest hazards facing New York City.
For this survey, the Planning Team did not ask its partners to assess public health risks, because NYCEM is using the findings contained in the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s extensive Jurisdictional Risk Assessment. This assessment, which was conducted by public health subject-matter experts from DOHMH, concluded that the largest public health threats to New York were:
Analyzing Hazards and Causes
Infrastructure Failures and Complex Coordinated Attack were two hazards that the Planning Team intended to include as sections in the 2019 HMP; however, discussions with the Hazard Mitigation Planning Partners and further analysis of these threats resulted in a different approach.
After two working group sessions discussed the hazards and mitigation strategies associated with infrastructure failures, participants concluded that risks to infrastructure failures are typically the result of severe weather events. Therefore, the 2019 HMP addresses infrastructure failure as a subset of a larger discussion of severe weather in the hazard profile’s sections on New York City’s built environment and the City’s overall hazard environment.
Another consideration favoring this approach was the group’s recognition that infrastructure improvement plans were typically part of general capital projects or ongoing maintenance, and not standalone hazard mitigation projects.
Avoiding redundancy was another reason that a profile dedicated to discussing infrastructure failures was eliminated from this HMP update. During the Working Group sessions, participants acknowledged that implementing one mitigation solution — installing solar panels, for example — often protects infrastructure from risks associated with a wide range of hazards. Installing solar panels or any other sustainable energy solution reduces the load on the utility networks, thereby reducing the risk of a power failures considered to be a secondary hazard during extreme heat, flooding, or coastal storm events.
The Planning Team decided not to include a hazard profile regarding the risk to New York City from a Complex Coordinated Attack due to time constraints; however, discussion of this hazard may be included in future HMP updates.
Prioritizing New York City’s Risks for the HMP Update
The natural and non-natural hazards that pose risks to New York City and are discussed specifically in the 2019 HMP update are:
- Coastal erosion
- Coastal storms
- Emerging diseases with epidemic potential
- Respiratory viruses with pandemic potential
- Extreme heat
- High winds
- Winter weather
- Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) releases
- Cyber threats
Development of the Mitigation Strategy Section of the HMP
Developing the Mitigation Strategy section of the HMP involved the following steps:
- Updating and identifying mitigation actions
- Holding one-on-one meetings with agencies
- Finalizing mitigation actions
- Evaluating mitigation actions
- Prioritizing mitigation actions
Updating and Identifying Mitigation Actions
To explain the Mitigation Action update process, NYCEM held two webinars for New York City agency partners. Hazard Mitigation Planning Partners were asked to identify mitigation actions to be included on the mitigation action worksheets that met the following criteria:
- Mitigates against one or more of the 11 natural or non-natural hazards profiled in the HMP and falls under one of the six FEMA mitigation categories (prevention, property protection, public education and awareness, coastal/natural resource protection, emergency services, and infrastructure projects).
- Achieves one or more of the five hazard mitigation goals and 29 objectives.
For each mitigation action, New York City agencies identified:
- Lead agency
- Support agency
- Schedule phase: Existing projects (having funding in place with ongoing strategies) or potential projects (seeking funding and desiring to implement)
- Relevant hazard(s)
- Project type
- Project description
- Cost estimate
- Funding source
- Location information
Agencies were also asked to use these mitigation action worksheets to provide a status report on actions taken as a result of the 2014 HMP.
Holding One-on-One Meetings with Agencies
The Planning Team convened one-on-one meetings with a range of New York City agencies. These separate meetings were valuable to the process, because they provided agencies with opportunities to ask questions and to gain better understanding on how their operations related to hazard mitigation. Meetings were also an opportunity for the Planning Team to gain insight on the agencies’ proposed mitigation actions.
During each meeting, the participants determined what, if any, content modifications were needed for the mitigation actions worksheet and if there were additional mitigation actions their agency could undertake in the future.
Following the meetings, agencies reviewed their submissions, made corrections and additions, and submitted a revised list of mitigation actions for the 2019 HMP. A table of these proposed mitigation actions is presented under Mitigation in this report’s website. The Planning Team also mapped existing projects that have a specific location.
Finalizing Mitigation Actions
Upon receiving the revised mitigation action worksheets from the New York City agency partners, the Planning Team compiled the following list:
- 473 existing mitigation actions
- 156 potential mitigation actions
- 227 completed mitigation actions
A table of these proposed mitigation actions is presented under Mitigation in this report’s website. This list reflects consistency with the mitigation funding guidelines and is relevant both to natural and non-natural hazard mitigation in New York City.
Evaluating Mitigation Actions
The Planning Team performed a qualitative analysis of the 157 potential mitigation actions using FEMA’s analytical tool — Social, Technical, Administrative, Political, Legal, Economic, and Environmental (STAPLEE) — which provides insight to the opportunities and constraints of implementing the potential mitigation actions.
The Mitigation Actions Database contains the full results of this STAPLEE analysis.
Prioritizing Mitigation Actions
In accordance with FEMA requirements, the Planning Team prioritized mitigation actions to reflect maximum benefit while considering the potential costs of each action.
The Planning Team devised a prioritization methodology using the seven STAPLEE criteria, the number of objectives addressed by each mitigation action, the project’s cost, and the project’s timeframe. Reflecting these criteria, each potential mitigation action received a numerical ranking that translated to either a high, medium, or low priority.
These rankings are dynamic and are able to change to reflect funding availability, revisions to the mitigation actions, or changing conditions in New York City. NYCEM’s Hazard Mitigation Unit will work closely with New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (NYS DHSES) and FEMA to secure funding for mitigation actions that are in accordance with the goals and objectives of this plan.