WASHINGTON—Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Tuesday hailed the signing into law by President Obama of the Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) grants reauthorization bill. The program is a highly effective, cost-saving grants program for state and local governments to help prevent damage due to natural disasters before it happens.

             The program has broad support among state and local emergency leaders.

            “The evidence is clear that when people are prepared for hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters, and take measures to lessen potential impacts, they recover faster after the disaster,” Lieberman said. “The PDM program saves lives, prevents damage, and reduces post-disaster costs. In fact, studies show it saves taxpayers $3-$4 for every $1 spent, a cost savings that cannot be ignored, especially when budgets are tight.  I thank the President for his quick attention to this proven program.”

            Collins said: “I am pleased the President signed the Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation Act which will help state, local and tribal governments – in Maine and across the country — plan for future disasters.   This grant program helps reduce injuries, loss of life, property damage and destruction, and has saved taxpayers significant sums on disaster recovery assistance.   The new law will make it easier for our local communities to recognize hazards and determine priorities for risk reduction.”

A 2007 Congressional Budget Office report found that the predisaster hazard mitigation program reduced losses by roughly $3 (measured in 2007 dollars) for each dollar invested in mitigation efforts.  A 2005 report by the Multihazard Mitigation Council showed substantial benefits and cost savings, too.  Looking at a range of hazard mitigation programs of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the study found that, on average, $1 invested in mitigation provided roughly $4 in benefits. The report estimated that the mitigation grants awarded between 1993 and 2003 saved more than 220 lives and prevented nearly 4,700 injuries over approximately 50 years.