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Warren County 2021 Draft Hazard Mitigation Plan

The text below is copy and pasted from the Executive summary of the draft plan. To read the full text, please download the draft plan. 

Executive Summary

Mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. Hazard mitigation focuses attention and resources on county and municipal policies and actions that will produce successive benefits over time. State and local governments engage in hazard mitigation planning to identify risks and vulnerabilities associated with natural as well as human-caused hazards and develop long-term strategies for protecting people and property from future hazard events. Mitigation plans are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. This plan represents the work of citizens, elected and appointed government officials, business leaders, and volunteer and nonprofit groups to protect community assets, preserve the economic viability of the community, and save lives.

In 2020, Warren County Emergency Management Agency contracted the services of a consulting agency to revise and update the Warren County Hazard Mitigation Plan. The plan was successfully updated in accordance with the requirements set forth by PEMA and FEMA. The updated Warren County Hazard Mitigation Plan was adopted by the Warren County Commissioners in 2021.
The Warren County Commissioners secured a grant to complete the 2021 update to the Warren County Hazard Mitigation Plan. MCM Consulting Group, Inc. was hired to assist the county with the update of the plan. The planning kick-off meeting was conducted May 4, 2020.

The planning process for the 2021 Warren County Hazard Mitigation Plan Update consisted of the follow-ing:

• Identification and prioritization of the hazards that may affect the county and its municipalities.
• Assessment of the county’s and municipalities’ vulnerability to these hazards.
• Identification of the mitigation actions and projects that can reduce that vulnerability.
• Development of a strategy for implementing the actions and projects, including identifying the agency(ies) responsible for that implementation.

Throughout the planning process, the general public was given the opportunity to comment on the existing HMP and provide suggestions for the updated version. Due to COVID-19, public meetings were conducted via an online survey to provide residents an opportunity to provide input on the HMP. Several meetings were held virtually, and participants were invited to submit surveys and other documents via an online survey.
The following hazards were identified by the local planning team as presenting the highest risk to the county and its municipalities:

• Emergency Services
• Flash Flooding
• Invasive Species
• Winter Storms
• Windstorms
• Flooding
• Dam Failure
• Substance Abuse
• Pandemic and Infectious Disease
• Extreme Temperatures
• Environmental Hazards – Transportation and Fixed Facility
• Wildfire
• Drowning
DRAFT Warren County, Pennsylvania
2021 Hazard Mitigation Plan
Prepared by MCM Consulting Group, Inc. Page - 2
• Utility Interruptions
• Disorientation

A total of twenty-two hazards are identified in the 2021 Warren County Hazard Mitigation Plan. A total of seventeen identified hazards were listed in the previous 2016 plan update. New hazards identified in this plan include emergency services, substance abuse, hailstorm, and invasive species.
To mitigate against the effects of these hazards, the local planning team identified the following goals for hazard mitigation over the next five years:

• Reduce potential injury/death and damage to existing community assets due to floods, flash floods, and ice jams.
• Reduce potential injury/death and damage to existing community assets due to all hazards.
• Promote disaster-resistant future development.
• Promote hazard mitigation as a public value in recognition of its importance to the health, safety, and welfare of the population.
• Improve response and recovery capabilities.
• Protect critical infrastructure.

Mitigation actions are specific projects and activities that help achieve goals. A total of thirty-seven actions were developed for this plan update as they pertain to hazards identified by the local planning team. The 2016 Warren County Hazard Mitigation Plan consisted of thirty actions. The individual objectives and actions that will be implemented are shown in section 6.4. Each municipality was provided the opportunity to submit new project opportunity forms for this update. A total of twenty-eight project opportunity forms were submitted during the 2016 HMP update. Municipalities were asked to indicate the current status of these projects submitted in 2016, of which six municipalities completed. A total of thirteen project oppor-tunities were submitted for this plan update.
The 2021 Warren County Hazard Mitigation Plan is the cornerstone to reducing Warren County’s vulner-ability to disasters. It is the commitment to reducing risks from hazards and serves as a guide for decision makers as they commit resources to reducing the effects of hazards. Hazard mitigation is the only phase of emergency management specifically dedicated to breaking the cycle of damage, reconstruction, and re-peated damage.

The 2021 Warren County Hazard Mitigation Plan is a living document that reflects ongoing hazard mitiga-tion activities and requires monitoring, evaluating, and updating to ensure the mitigation actions are imple-mented. To facilitate the hazard mitigation planning process and adhere to regulatory requirements, the plan will be reviewed annually, and any major revisions will be incorporated into the five-year update.