The Liberty County Emergency Management Agency will conduct a series of stakeholders’ meetings this month as part of its effort to update the county’s Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan.
Director Mike Hodges, Assistant Director Larry Logan and engineering-firm contractor David Stroud will lead the first meeting from 10-11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 5, in the commissioners’ boardroom at the courthouse annex in Hinesville.
“Every five years, we have to update this plan with new data,” Hodges said. “In the event of loss, such as a hurricane, a plan has to be in place that prioritizes areas for repairs. (For example), if an area floods, we need to use some of the (Federal Emergency Management Agency) loss funding to repair that problem. It focuses on trouble spots.”
Hodges said FEMA will not pay for repetitive losses, so a plan is necessary to mitigate the effects of a hazard. He said the plan covers the entire county and includes natural hazards such as flooding, wind damage and salt-water inundation, as well as man-made disasters like a chemical spill.
If such a spill were to occur in downtown Hinesville, he said the plan dictates what actions can and will be taken to protect the public.
“We have plans in place with all the agencies for first response that we train on regularly,” he said. “All the affected agencies respond and perform their required job, and the problem gets handled fairly quickly. We’d re-route traffic. We’d close off drains. We’d even evacuate people, if necessary.”
He said FEMA’s Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 serves as a guide for communities to follow in updating their plan and will be used during the meetings. He added that future federal funding for disasters is dependent upon stakeholders — government and community leaders, first responders and utility companies — assisting with the update of the county’s plan.
Others interested in attending the meetings should call Hodges at 368-2201 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.