YORK, NE — To keep citizens safe, Hamilton, Seward, and York County Emergency Management officials and the Upper Big Blue NRD are undertaking an effort to update their current Hazard Mitigation Plans. Originally approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2015, Hazard Mitigation Plans are a requirement of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, administered by FEMA. Hazard Mitigation Plans are required to be updated on a five-year cycle with the plans for Hamilton, Seward, and York Counties set to expire in 2019-2020.
A Hazard Mitigation Plan is a publicly-guided document that identifies vulnerability from natural disasters such as flood, drought, earthquake, wildfire, winter storm, tornado/high wind storm, and dam failure, etc. The plan sets goals, establishes mitigation alternatives, and prioritizes projects which can protect lives and alleviate potential damage to property when future disasters occur.
The Upper Big Blue NRD has hired JEO Consulting Group, Inc., to assist with updating and combining all three county plans together over the next 12 to 18 months. This Hazard Mitigation Plan update is funded by a FEMA planning grant. The cost is shared 75% through federal funding, and 25% through a local match. For this combining plan update, Hamilton, Seward, and York Counties, and the Upper Big Blue NRD will provide the 25% local match.
For every $1 spent on hazard mitigation, $6 in post-storm cleanup and rebuilding is saved, according to FEMA. Proactive hazard mitigation planning allows a community to take actions to reduce or eliminate threats from natural and man-made disasters.
This planning effort is being guided by a Planning Team consisting of representatives from the Upper Big Blue NRD, county emergency management officials, and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Public input will be gathered during plan development through online tools and public meetings. All communities, county agencies, school districts, and taxing authorities within Hamilton, Seward, and York Counties are eligible to participate undertaking an effort to update and combine their current Hazard Mitigation Plans.