Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan Update

The Ross County Emergency Management Agency is leading the effort to update the county’s Mitigation Plan. This plan identifies hazards affecting the county, assesses the impact of these hazards and identifies actions (projects) that can lessen or eliminate the impact of these hazards.

Funding for mitigation projects comes available periodically, most often relating to a recent disaster declaration. Here’s the catch: only those jurisdictions with current plans are eligible to apply and they can only apply for funding of projects identified in their plan.  Ohio will be receiving a sizable amount of funding this year to make projects possible.  We need your cooperation in filling out the attached form and emailing it back to the EMA office in a timely fashion.  Let Ross County be one of the first counties at the front of the line for this funding.  We need to take advantage of this funding while it is available.

 Townships, City and Villages for your jurisdiction to be covered by this plan, you must participate in its development, and have at least one action specific to your jurisdiction.

City and Villages, once reviewed and approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) your jurisdiction will formally adopt it.

We’ve already identified and ranked hazards. At our last working meeting, we reviewed the actions previously identified (rosscountyema.com) and are asking for your input regarding adding the actions.  Currently, all actions have countywide application – at least one must be added with specific application to your jurisdiction. This is your opportunity to make sure actions are included that can benefit your jurisdiction.

FEMA has prepared a resource that lists suggestions for mitigation actions – https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1904-25045-0186/fema_mitigation_ideas_final508.pdf. This is a great way to get ideas about what mitigation can do for your jurisdiction.

MITIGATION ACTIONS

A mitigation action is a specific action, project, activity, or process taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from hazards and their impacts. Implementing mitigation actions helps achieve the plan’s mission and goals. The actions to reduce vulnerability to threats and hazards form the core of the plan and are a key outcome of the planning process.

Types of Mitigation Actions

The primary types of mitigation actions to reduce long-term vulnerability are:

  • Local plans and regulations
  • Structural projects
  • Natural systems protection
  • Education programs
  • Preparedness and response actions

Local Plans and Regulations

Local land use or comprehensive plans embody the goals, values and aspirations of the community, as expressed through a process of community engagement. The plan should identify current development patterns and trends as well as areas where future development should and should not occur.  The plan should include policies and ordinances that steer development away from hazard-prone areas, such as floodplains, to avoid putting people and property at risk.  In some cases, local plans can work at cross-purposes.  For example, a capital improvement plan may call for extending water and sewer lines to an area that is vulnerable to natural hazards.  Emergency managers, planners and others in a community should coordinate in preparing plans to ensure consistency across plans; that is, consistent goals, policies, and strategies.

Local ordinances and review processes influence the way land and buildings are developed and built. Examples include:

  • Comprehensive plans
  • Land use ordinances
  • Subdivision regulations
  • Development review
  • Building codes and enforcement
  • NFIP Community Rating System
  • Capital improvement programs
  • Open space preservation
  • Stormwater management regulations and master plans
  • Plans, ordinances, policies and regulations should be mutually reinforcing. All should leave to the development of a more sustainable, resilient community.

 

Structure and Infrastructure Projects

These actions involve modifying existing structures and infrastructure to protect them from a hazard or remove them from a hazard area. This could apply to public or private structures as well as critical facilities and infrastructure. This type of action also involves projects to construct manmade structures to reduce the impact of hazards. Many of these types of actions are projects eligible for funding through the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance program. Task 9 – Create a Safe and Resilient Community provides more information on these programs. Examples include:

  • Acquisitions and elevations of structures in flood prone areas
  • Utility undergrounding
  • Structural retrofits.
  • Floodwalls and retaining walls
  • Detention and retention structures
  • Culverts
  • Safe rooms

 

Natural Systems Protection

These are actions that minimize damage and losses and also preserve or restore the functions of natural systems. Examples include:

  • Sediment and erosion control
  • Stream corridor restoration
  • Forest management
  • Conservation easements
  • Wetland restoration and preservation

 

Education and Awareness Programs

These are actions to inform and educate citizens, elected officials, and property owners about hazards and potential ways to mitigate them. These actions may also include participation in national programs, such as StormReady1 or Firewise2 Communities. Although this type of mitigation reduces risk less directly than structural projects or regulation, it is an important foundation. A greater understanding and awareness of hazards and risk among local officials, stakeholders, and the public is more likely to lead to direct actions. Examples include:

  • Radio or television spots
  • Websites with maps and information
  • Real estate disclosure
  • Presentations to school groups or neighborhood organizations
  • Mailings to residents in hazard-prone areas.
  • StormReady
  • Firewise Communities

Preparedness and Response Actions

Mitigation actions reduce or eliminate long-term risk and are different from actions taken to prepare for or respond to hazard events. Mitigation activities lessen or eliminate the need for preparedness or response resources in the future. When analyzing risks and identifying mitigation actions, the planning team may also identify emergency response or operational preparedness actions. Examples include:

  • Creating mutual aid agreements with neighboring communities to meet emergency response needs.
  • Purchasing radio communications equipment for the Fire Department.
  • Developing procedures for notifying citizens of available shelter locations during and following an event.
  • For some hazards, such as tornadoes, including preparedness actions in the mitigation plan may be necessary and practical. The mitigation plan may be the best place for your community to capture and justify the need for these actions. However, these will not take the place of or meet the federal mitigation planning requirements for identifying mitigation actions. It is important that the planning team understands the difference and can distinguish between mitigation and other emergency management activities.

The Ross County Mitigation Planning Team has identified the following actions. Please review them to see if any would apply to your jurisdiction.  If any do, estimate the number of sites in your jurisdiction and estimate an average cost to apply the fix to an average site. You may also add actions that haven’t already been identified – please provide the same information.Note that while not required to be in the Mitigation Plan, it would be a good idea to keep actual site locations and information for your records to facilitate funding these actions.Keep in mind we are planning to fix problems, not just making repairs.s and ideas for mitigation actions. Please review them for potential actions you want to add to the plan for your jurisdiction.  The link below will take you to the Goals and Actions Survey.

Goals .Actions.Survey