Hazard Mitigation Plan 2012 Update - Introduction
The residents of the Lehigh Valley are well aware of their vulnerability to natural hazards such as flooding, severe storms, and severe winter storms. Further, man-made and technological hazards put people and property at risk on a daily basis. Hazard mitigation planning is a step toward addressing these hazards and the effects on County businesses and population and reducing future damages due to hazard events. Residents and businesses benefit from comprehensive hazard mitigation planning by using a sustained pro-active approach to reduce or eliminate long term risk to people and property from hazards. By utilizing mitigation planning, communities assess risks and identify actions to reduce their vulnerability and increase sustainability.
The Steering Committee is in the process of developing a Mission Statement for this plan update.
A Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) is a living document that communities use to reduce their vulnerability to hazards. HMPs form the foundation for a community's long-term strategy to reduce disaster losses and break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. They create a framework for risk-based decision making to reduce damages to lives, property, and the economy from future disasters.
Further, communities must have an approved HMP to apply for or receive pre-disaster mitigation grant funding. Grant funding is available for projects to mitigate risk to both public and private property. For example projects such as home elevations and local flood mitigation projects are eligible for funding. Ultimately, these actions reduce vulnerability, and communities are able to recover more quickly from disasters.
Lehigh Valley’s original HMP was approved by FEMA in April 2007, and may be seen at the 2006 Plan link. By regulation, local HMPs must be formally updated every five years. The update process is an opportunity for Northampton and Lehigh Counties and its municipalities to not only re-examine its vulnerability to natural hazards, it also allows for the identification of man-made hazards which impact vistors and residents of the Lehigh Valley every day.
This large scale planning effort is being accomplished through a collaborative effort between the Northampton County Division of Emergency Management Services, Lehigh County Emergency Services, the Lehigh Valley HMP Steering Committee and Tetra Tech, Inc. (Morris Plains, NJ). This planning initiative is expected to continue through Spring 2012. The two counties and in lying municipalities (the “Planning Partnership”) have committed to participating in this process, and continue to be eligible for pre-disaster mitigation grant funding.
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