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Input Sought to Develop Hazard Mitigation Plan

By Staff | Feb 2, 2010

A meeting to develop a Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan for the Palo Alto County will be held Tuesday, Feb. 16. The meeting will be held at Iowa Lakes Community College, Emmetsburg campus, in room 817 at 6:30 p.m.

A kick off meeting was held in January. Over the next six to eight months, eight or ten additional meetings will be held with representatives from the county, cities and school districts participating.

“Elected officials, first responders, school officials, and hospital personnel, are the main make-up of this planning committee,” said Mark Hunefeld, Emergency Management Agency Director. “We would highly encourage any citizen to take part in this planning process.”

Hunefeld noted, “In an effort to save the county money we are required to provide in-kind hours (participation) in lieu of a cash payment in the tune of $7200. The Northwest Iowa Planning and Development Commission is leading this project.”

What does a Hazard

Mitigation Plan do?

1. It helps do identify hazards both natural and man-made that may occur within our county. Once identified we look at how we could reduce or eliminate the effects the hazard may have.

Example 1: tornados can cause a natural disaster and although we can’t stop them from happening we can reduce the effects by having an early warning system, safe shelters, and emergency plans just to name a few ideas.

Example 2: Vehicles transport hazard materials on roadways every day. We can reduce speed limits, restrict traffic movement, and require certain safety practices to help reduce the possibility of an accident.

2. The plan is a requirement to pursue certain funding following a disaster. Communities in SE Iowa following the 08 flooding were not provided certain assistance because they had no plan.

3. The plan has is a requirement to apply for certain grant funding.

4. More than anything the plan makes perfect sense to help our county, cities, as well as our citizens to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural and man-made hazards and disasters.

“This Plan will be updated every five years,” said Hunefeld. “Previously there were nine city plans and one county plan. The Multi-Jurisdictional Plan will cover all jurisdictions within the county.

If anyone has questions or wish to participate they can contact the Emergency Management Agency at 712-852-4997 or email at paema@iowatelecom.net or attend the Feb. 16 meeting.