A meeting last Thursday saw two dozen representatives from the city, county, region and state sit side by side in the first step toward updating the county’s hazardous mitigation plan.
The county contracted with Lux Mitigation and Planning Corporation, a firm run by Katy Westbrook, to help update the plan that should address the long-term goal of reducing losses to people, property and the economy in the event of disaster.
The update is required every five years by the Federal and Georgia emergency management services in order for the county to be eligible for grants for relief and reconstruction post-disaster.
The group held a kick-off meeting Aug. 10 during which Westbrook outlined the process of updating and submitting the plan for review.
The committee is charged with identifying hazards and prioritizing them.
“The bigger view of this plan is we’re going to identify the hazards that the county faces and then we’re going to see what we can do to lessen the blow of those hazards,” Westbrook said. “Natural hazards, severe winter weather, tornados, severe thunderstorms: We have absolutely no control over when they happen, where they happen or how long they happen. We just need to prepare for them and mitigate against those hazards.”
Looking at which areas are most likely to flood for example, or most likely to experience wildfire, is integral to the plan, Westbrook said, not only from a geological standpoint but also historically. This is part of the risk assessment analysis that Westbrook said the committee will also look at during the second meeting.
Following meetings will address a review of the current hazard mitigation strategies as well as identifying new ones, update the location of critical facilities such as pump stations and schools on the GEMA database and review of the new Dawson County Hazard Mitigation Plan rough draft.
The current plan is set to expire July 30, 2018.
The committee’s next meeting will be 1:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at Amicalola Falls State Park.