Baltimore, Maryland 2018 Disaster Preparedness and Planning Project (DP3)

The City of Baltimore, Maryland Disaster Preparedness and Planning Project (DP3) was first completed in 2013 and has been updated in 2018, to reflect the city’s commitment to reduce impact from current and future natural hazards, including climate change. Entitled a "combined all-hazard mitigation and climate adaptation plan," the 2018 DP3 identifies Baltimore's vulnerabilities to hazards including coastal storms, flooding, extreme heat, and high winds. The plan focuses on developing strategies that will reduce or eliminate loss of life and property damage within priority urban sectors of Infrastructure, Buildings, Natural Systems, and Public Services. The updated plan and project added a Strategy Sub-Committee consisting of agencies responsible for implementing the actions, and an Equity and Outreach Sub-Committee to engage community members with an equity framework for residents most vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters.

The 2018 DP3 is an updated version of the 2013 plan, as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires local jurisdictions to update All Hazards Mitigation Plans (AHMP) every 5 years to retain eligibility for disaster-related assistance. The updated recommendations were condensed and reprioritized from the 2013 DP3 plan, but remained focused on four strategy areas: Infrastructure, Buildings, Natural Systems, and Public Services. The strategies were created based on information from historic occurrences of hazard events, an assessment of geographic extent and Baltimore’s risk for each hazard, and hazard-specific loss estimates in terms of economic damage. Studies showed that every dollar spent on preemptive planning can reduce the cost from future disasters by at least $32. DP3 focuses on improving infrastructure and protecting citizens livelihoods by consolidating the previous 51 strategies into 23 broader plans that embrace Baltimore’s natural systems. The highest priority actions are those that address multiple hazards, an effort to create efficient and cost-effective impact across multiple scales. 

Since the 2013 adoption, Baltimore has created a new zoning code with an open space designation, initiated four pilot Resilience Hubs, approved a Landscape Manual, and has made significant progress towards funding for needed stream restoration and other flood-minimizing projects. ‘Community-district’ resilience plans and implementation guidelines are still being developed. 

The 2018 DP3 places a stronger emphasis on community engagement and equity than previous hazard mitigation plans. The Equity and Outreach Sub-Committee encouraged the consideration of an equity framework for DP3. The sub-committee intentionally formed a sample representative of Baltimore’s demographic composition, with a focus on residents most vulnerable to natural hazards. 

Groups engaged for input included: Senior centers, Family and early life organizations, Community organizations, Faith-based organizations and churches, Organizations supporting homeless populations, and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (Public Housing).  

The DP3 offers several specific strategies to increase social equity in Baltimore, such as to:

  • Prioritize retrofitting and increasing the resiliency of Public Housing units in the designated Flood Area and other high-risk areas
  • Prior to a hazard event, identify lead contacts serving vulnerable populations and coordinate actions to maximize safety and information sharing
  • Given increasing premiums, identify programs and grants that assist citizens in purchasing flood insurance and making flood proofing changes

Chapter 5 - Strategies and Actions includes Hazard Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies that are grouped according to corresponding urban sectors - Infrastructure, Buildings, Natural systems, and Public services. Within each, there are many comprehensive adaptation strategies that include Implementation Actions per strategy.  For example, in the Infrastructure section, there are 22 primary strategies described across 10 pages, each with their own Implementation actions. Infrastructure as addressed in this plan includes considerations of the risk and resilience of waterfront properties, energy transmission, transportation, communication, stormwater, wastewater and drinking water systems. For example, IN-17: Modify urban landscaping requirements and increase permeable surfaces to reduce stormwater runoff includes the following Implementation Actions:

  1. Support existing stormwater requirements and continue to evaluate and improve Best Management Practices
  2. Encourage urban landscaping requirements and permeable surfaces into community-managed open spaces
  3. Utilize water conservation elements such as green roofs, rain gardens, cisterns, and bioswales on residential, commercial, industrial, and City-owned properties to capture stormwater
  4. Encourage permeable paving on low-use pathways
  5. Pursue grants for Floodplain Storage and Diversion projects to alleviate flooding in the most flood prone areas when and where feasible


Publication Date: December 20, 2018

Related Organizations:

  • City of Baltimore, Maryland

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  • Adaptation plan
  • Plans (other)

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