The Liberty County Emergency Management Agency invited stakeholders from across Liberty County, including officials from local city governments and governmental entities, business and industries, public health, first responders, law enforcement, utility companies and the Red Cross, to participate in a community planning meeting last week.
The purpose of the gathering was to begin developing a Disaster Recovery and Redevelopment Plan for Liberty County.
“This plan will outline Liberty County’s strategy for recovering from and rebuilding after a disaster,” said Jennifer Kline with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Coastal Resources Division. Disasters such as hurricanes, like Irma, provide community leaders with a baseline to build upon,
Participants discussed the county’s disaster preparation capabilities and its weak spots, to identify what areas need to be improved for recovery efforts. In short, to assist the community in becoming more resilient and to aid in a faster and more comprehensive recovery following a disaster.
Larry Logan, Deputy Director of Emergency Management for Liberty County, started off the Feb. 28 workshop, which was held at the east end complex in Midway.
Hope Winship with Hagerty Consulting facilitated the program.
“Long term recovery can take years,” Winship said. The goal for a community’s recovery is not just to return to pre-disaster conditions, but to bounce back stronger than before, she said.
Liberty County is one of 11 coastal counties in the region that is part of the recovery project, according to Kline. Other counties in the region that have completed disaster resiliency planning include Chatham, Brantley, Glynn and Charlton. McIntosh, like Liberty, is in the planning stage. Wayne, Long, Bryan and Effingham counties are next to participate in the project.
Steps in the planning process include forming a planning team, analyzing potential threats and situations, determining goals and objectives, composing the plan, and communicating with and training stakeholders.
Liberty County has agreed to meet an in-kind match of $45,000 for the planning process, according to Winship. Grant match activities include attendance at community meetings, review of planning documents and engaging with community partners, she said.
The community’s hazard mitigation plan will overlap with the disaster recovery and redevelopment plan, Winship said. Guidelines for the project will follow the National Response Framework and the National Disaster Recovery Framework, she said.
A timeline for the project recommends additional planning meetings in March and April, with a draft plan formulated in April through May, and a final draft presented in June.