Mitigate is another way to say "relieve" or "alleviate." That's the general idea, to make a dangerous situation less risky.

The Harford County Department of Emergency Services (DES) encourages citizens to be aware of potential hazards facing their community, both natural and man-made. It is essential for citizens to plan ahead and be prepared.

DES identifies the hazards that can impact our communities, assesses our vulnerability to those hazards, identifies resources and capabilities, and develops a strategy to lessen the impact from future disasters. The central document in this effort is the Harford County Hazard Mitigation Plan. It is used to eliminate or reduce future damage from those hazards to protect the health, safety, and welfare of residents in Harford County. The plan contains strategies and concepts and is updated every five years (as mandated under the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 [DMA2K]).  

Copies of the Harford County Hazard Mitigation Plan are maintained at DES, the Department of Planning and Zoning, and each of the three municipalities. As with all planning documents, this is a "living" document, meaning that it is revised as projects are completed or as regulations change.

Potential hazards for Harford citizens

  • Dam failure
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Hazardous materials
  • Heat/drought
  • Hurricanes/tropical storms/tropical depressions
  • Nuclear/radiological release
  • Terrorism
  • Active-shooter
  • Civil unrest
  • Thunderstorms
  • Tornadoes
  • Earthquakes
  • Winter storms

Flood insurance

Everyone faces the risk of natural disaster. Protecting your property from potential damage and loss by purchasing insurance, especially flood insurance is imperative. Most homeowners' insurance policies do not cover flood damage. It is important to know exactly what coverage you have and what coverage is available to protect your property against all the natural hazards it may be exposed to. You don't have to live in a "flood zone" to be eligible for flood insurance. Check with your insurance company or local insurance agent. Having adequate coverage before a disaster strikes is key. Remember that it takes 30 days for flood insurance to become active. Don't wait, talk to your insurance agent before hurricane season begins.

Please visit the FloodSmart website for additional information regarding the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).