Region 24 is leading the process of updating a plan which focuses on the reduction or elimination of impacts resulting from natural and manmade hazards throughout the region. Having an approved and updated Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) in place is a requirement of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for communities, counties, school districts and other groups to qualify for several types of hazard mitigation funding opportunities, including 75% federal cost-sharing under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. The current Hazard Mitigation Plan originally developed in 2010 is up for an update due every five years, as required by FEMA.
Hazard mitigation planning includes working with participating communities, the Emergency Management Region 24, and other agencies to prioritize and complete projects designed to make communities safer and ease potential damage from disasters. According to FEMA, every dollar spent on hazard mitigation planning results in a four-dollar savings on post-disaster cleanup and rebuilding. JEO Consulting Group, Inc. assisted with development of the original plan and will also help with the updating process, funded by a FEMA planning grant. The planning team leading the update consists of representatives from the Emergency Management Region 24, counties, and some jurisdiction in the plan area as well as representatives from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
The Region 24 Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan Update process began in September 2013 with the project kick-off meeting. In January, a series of hazard identification public meetings were held in Valentine, Bassett and Spencer. The meetings were attended by representatives from Region 24 Emergency Management Agency, Boyd, Holt, Brown, Rock, and Cherry Counties, members of Bristow, Lynch, Keya Paha and Niobrara Council. Moreover, representatives from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR), Middle Niobrara Natural Resources District, Ainsworth and Rock County Public Schools and Nebraska Forest Service attended the hazard identification meeting. At the public meeting, participating communities discussed the mitigation planning process, implications for their community, and the risks they face from natural and manmade hazards.
The Hamilton Hazard Mitigation Plan has since been reviewed by the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and has received approval pending local adoption. Each jurisdiction that participated in the planning process as a direct participant will need to adopt the plan. The updated Hazard Mitigation Plan is available for download.
Jeff Henson, CFM