Hazard Mitigation Planning
Hazard Mitigation Planning is a relatively new program to the Planning Commission. During the first part of 1999 the Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC) approached the NH Office of Emergency Management (NHOEM) to explore the possibility of facilitating a local hazard mitigation planning venture throughout the region. By the end of March 1999 an agreement had been approved between the SWRPC and the NHOEM for the Commission to initiate a pilot project for the local hazard mitigation planning effort. The Towns of Jaffrey and Sullivan were chosen as the pilot towns and initial meetings with those towns started in December of 1999. The planning endeavor was a success with both towns as they were the first in New Hampshire to have natural hazard mitigation plans approved by the State of New Hampshire. NHOEM approved the pilot project and since has entered into a partnership with eight of the nine New Hampshire Regional Planning Commissions to establish local hazard mitigation plans.
SWRPC is currently developing a plan for the town of Gilsum and updates for the towns of Alstead, Antrim, Fitzwilliam, Hancock, Roxbury, Westmoreland and Winchester. The commission has developed plans for nearly all of the towns in our region as well as a regional component for a portion of the Ashuelot River Watershed by creating a critical facilities database.
Priorities for developing a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan:
- Federal law sets forth a process whereby communities throughout the nation would only be eligible for various grant programs and assistance, upon completion of a local hazard mitigation plan.
- The plan is designed as a means to reduce future losses from natural or man-made hazards before they occur.
- When the plan is implemented it will provide a community with an orderly process for growth and development through proactive land-use plans.
Steps of the planning process:
- Establish a Mitigation Planning Team
- Map the Past and Potential Natural Hazards
- Locate and Identify the Critical Facilities Throughout Town
- Identify Current Protection Measures In Place and Gaps in Current Protection Measures
- Determine Actions that Can be Taken To Improve Protection
- Evaluate The Proposed Actions and Their Feasibility
- Prioritize the Proposed Actions and Select the Feasible Ones
- Develop A Strategy To Implement the Selected Actions
- Adopt and Monitor the Plan
Benefits your community can receive by having a Plan in place prior to a disaster:
- Potential for loss reduction in the event of a future disaster.
- Established priorities for loss prevention.
- Potential for the reduction of social, emotional and economic disruption brought on by disasters.
- The assignment of responsibilities for the mitigation initiatives.
At the end of the six to ten month process the town will have its own working hazard mitigation plan.