Hopefully, Great Bend is not in the middle of digging out from a major disaster when you are reading this story, but if it were, action taken this week by the Great Bend City Council would have helped.
This week the council approved a resolution that formally adopted the Barton County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan.
What that boils down to is this, according to Fire Chief Mike Napolitano: Great Bend is in a better position to get federal help in case there is a disaster in its future.
Napolitano explained the plan is designed to help insure that the city is ready to receive FEMA assistance in case of a tornado, blizzard or other disaster.
By adopting the county plan, the city is able to participate in the hazard coverage without having to do all the work of developing a separate plan, the fire chief added.
Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller reported to county officials earlier this year that the long-term county project had been forwarded to federal officials, and the Barton County Commission have already approved its resolution that adopted the plan.
It has been a long time in the making, but the county has received tentative approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, after the county plan was approved by state officials.
Miller reported earlier that: “On March 23, 2010, the first planning meeting for the Barton County Hazard Mitigation Plan was held. The purpose of a Hazard Mitigation Plan is to guide hazard mitigation to better protect the people and property of Barton County. Having an approved plan makes plan participants eligible to receive both pre and post disaster funding and projects. Without an approved plan there is a potential to lose funding.”
Miller also explained the planning work involved:
• Identifying hazards
• Assessing the impact of the hazards on people and property
• Identifying the location and the extent of hazard areas
• Identifying assets that are at risk
• Identifying actions and projects for hazards
• Making a draft plan available for public review and comment.
There is a year for all of the local entities to sign on.
Then, after that, Miller noted, the plan will last for five years and have to be redone, so that it keeps up to date.