Westchester County Seeks Input On Disaster Preparedness

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RobAstorinoWHITE PLAINS, NY — Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino is asking municipal officials, community leaders and residents to participate in a project that will revise the county’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation plan, which is designed to save lives, reduce property damage and lower the risks associated with natural disasters and other emergencies.

“To ensure our disaster preparedness efforts are as effective as possible, the county must constantly review and update our plans,” said Astorino. “With that in mind, we are asking municipal officials and residents if they have any feedback on how current plans could be improved.”

By participating in the planning process, the county and its municipalities will be eligible to receive funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The project Web site www.westchesterhmp.com is a great resource for the public to learn everything there is to know about hazard mitigation. Interested residents will be asked to complete a survey, which will give the county direct access to public input to help shape the updated Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan.

John M. Cullen, commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services, said an effective Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan requires broad-based knowledge and input from the entire community.

“By including elected officials, community leaders, police, fire, EMS, healthcare providers, utilities, businesses and academia in the dialogue, the county gets the latest information and expertise needed to make its Hazard Mitigation Plan the best it can be,” said Cullen.

Hazard mitigation describes actions that can help reduce or eliminate long-term risks caused by large-scale events or disasters, such as floods, hurricanes, extreme temperatures, tornadoes, earthquakes and landslides.

Mitigation plans look at ways to reduce risk by making planning decisions and infrastructure improvements before a disaster occurs.
Hazard mitigation measures can include changes to a community’s comprehensive/master plan, which may alter zoning ordinances, building codes, and policies that guide stormwater management, wetlands preservation, erosion and sediment control.
The goals of effective hazard mitigation planning include:
Saving lives and property;
Reducing the loss of critical infrastructure;
Preventing the loss of essential services;
Reducing short-term and long-term recovery and reconstruction costs, and
Increasing potential for state and federal funding for recovery costs.