Hazard Mitigation Plans
Hazard Mitigation plans are important to protect communities from potential natural and man-made disasters by taking inventory of critical infrastructure and keys resources, mapping past and potential hazards, and identifying actions needed to provide the best protection for all citizens. Any community applying for Hazard Mitigation grant funds for equipment or mitigation strategies from Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) must complete a Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan.
North Country Council (NCC) assists communities using a eleven step planning process. The municipality is responsible for developing the Multi-Hazard Team which should consist of members selected by the Emergency Management Director. Members of the team should represent the police department, fire department, road agent, planning board, select board, town manager, and members of the public. It is critical that the team make every effort to publicize their meeting schedule to solicit community participation. These meetings will allow the team to identify critical infrastructure and key resources, identify potential disaster areas, review current mitigation strategies, and to develop, evaluate, and prioritize potential mitigation strategies.
While not as prominent in New Hampshire as it is in many states, wildfire is discussed in this planning process. New Hampshire averages over 500 wildfires each year, but due to quick identification and response, recent damage has been minimal. The goal of stressing wildfires during the multi-hazard planning process is to maintain this record. Identifying the Wildland-Urban Interface, determining potential damage to structures within that region, and determining a wildfire risk analysis is a crucial part of this program. It is also recommended that towns participating in this process complete a water resource plan as part of their wildfire analysis.
Generally it will take five to seven meetings to create a new or updated plan. The final plan will be sent to NH Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) for review before being sent to FEMA for final approval. Once the plan receives conditional approval from FEMA, the town must hold a public hearing and the Select Board must adopt the plan.