VT revises plans for preventing damages during disasters

VT revises plans for preventing damages during disasters

The Vermont Emergency Management Department is in the process of revamping the 'State Hazard Mitigation Plan.' It's required by FEMA- and spells out policies and actions that should be implemented to reduce future risk and losses because of severe weather. FEMA requires the plan to be updated every three years.
The Vermont Emergency Management Department is in the process of revamping the 'State Hazard Mitigation Plan.' It's required by FEMA- and spells out policies and actions that should be implemented to reduce future risk and losses because of severe weather. FEMA requires the plan to be updated every three years.
The last time Vermont updated the policy was in 2010 right before being hit by Irene and multiple floods.
The town of Jericho escaped heavy damage from Irene; but was hit hard during the spring flooding of 2011.
“It didn’t really force us to change our thinking at that time,” said Todd Odit, Jericho Town Administrator.
Then this year the town was hit again like many others in Vermont - three times in just as many months.
“The events of this summer made us start to think about how we plan for the future,” said Odit.
So this time around Jercho upgraded the problem spots.
“Where we had a lot of wash outs we cleaned out the ditches, we stone lined the ditches, in many cases they weren't stone lines before so we are doing that work,” said Odit.
That type of preventive work will be laid out in the upgraded State Hazard Mitigation Plan.
“We are fine tuning that with all the lessons learned from tropical storm Irene, the spring flooding of 2011, and now obviously the spring flooding of 2013,” said Ray Doherty, State Hazard Mitigation officer.
Doherty says since Irene the state has conducted studies to locate the problem areas.
“We try to look at the entire range of data and develop a proactive strategy to avoid more damages in the future,” said Doherty.
While each town can decide not to follow state recommendations Doherty says there are benefits from taking the advice.
“They'll get additional state dollars. But we are finding much more compliance because people have seen what the real impacts are from not doing anything,” said Doherty.
But many towns are already doing something.
“The nice thing is where we had damage in May isn't where we had damage in June and then again in July,” said Odit.
The mitigation plan is almost finished. The final plan will be approved by the state in November.
It includes many new recommendations and even a new website that helps educate home owners on how you can protect your house. Visit Focusonfloods.com for more information.
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