Updating Montana’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plans

2005 - 2017
Various Montana Counties
Montana Disaster and Emergency Services

Although foreseeing the future can be difficult, responding to disasters often begins before they happen. The Montana Disaster and Emergency Services (MT DES) asked RESPEC to weigh potential hazards and update PDM plans for seven counties: Beaverhead, Madison, Mineral, Missoula, Park, Ravalli, and Yellowstone. Our climate expertise, ability to engage with communities, and knowledge across various markets made us the perfect partner. 

To address these challenges, RESPEC analyzed historical hazards, such as flooding, earthquakes, fires, and storm-related events, within each county and assessed the potential losses from these hazards. Our staff then used the findings to prepare plan updates for these counties.  

RESPEC also identified construction projects, studies, public education initiatives, mitigation strategies, and hazard preparedness projects in the updated PDM to reduce exposure to natural hazards and mitigate losses. Public meetings were held throughout each county to gauge the community’s concerns regarding natural hazards and opinions on mitigation efforts to reduce vulnerability. Local emergency planning committees also worked with RESPEC and county staff to obtain and reflect the public’s interests regarding the best means to reduce natural and human-caused hazard impacts. 

These updated plans provided MT DES with recommendations for mitigation strategies to help reduce potential losses, and the State of Montana and FEMA Region VIII approved these suggestions without significant amendments or changes. RESPEC’s approach enhanced public safety, reduced susceptibility from natural and human-caused hazards, and improved community planning and engagement.