EMERGENCY PLANNER: ALYSSA SABETTO
Effective emergency planning involves mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. WRC aims to engage and work together with our Towns to facilitate good relationships and information sharing, so Towns feel prepared to deal with inevitable hazard events—both natural and man-made. This website should be seen as a source for information and helpful documents to guide emergency planning in your Town.
The Windham Regional Commission, in partnership with Deerfield Watershed Creating Resilient Communities and the University of Massachusetts RiverSmart Communities, has put together a resource document entitled Municipal Guidance for Flood Emergencies in Vermont. This document is meant to assist all types of Vermont town officials, boards, staff, volunteers and others, with considerations and resources related to flooding disasters.
The Flood Guide shares actions and steps to be taken by each role at each stage: from proactive and smart advance preparations, to advance preparations to do when a major storm is forecast, and on to actions to be taken during the storm, as well as during recovery. This comprehensive guide is meant to be an active tool that is kept both electronically and in hard copy with your Local Emergency Operations Plan. Numerous state and federal agencies had input into the creation of the Flood Guide. Our goal is that towns will share this guide both internally and with their neighboring towns, to foster resiliency throughout Vermont.
Town Reporting During and After Disasters
It is vital, for a number of reasons, including situational awareness and funding for damage repair, for Towns to report damages as a result of storms and other hazards. Towns should make it a habit of reporting to the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) all of your damages. The Local Situation Report is the reporting tool. Please note: this reporting is only to be done by Town employees, not private individuals.
Link to Situation Report – word version for electronic fill out
Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund (ERAF)
What is needed for ERAF compliance?
12.5% - eligible communities have adopted four mitigation measures:
- Adopt or take steps toward the adoption of a flood hazard bylaw adequate enough to secure participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP);
- Adopt the most recent Agency of Transportation Town Road and Bridge Standards, available here – (annually certify adopted standards that meet or exceed the current standards);
- Adopt and maintain a Local Emergency Operations Plan (adopt annually after town meeting);
- Adopt a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan - Adopt a FEMA- approved local plan (valid for five years). Or, a draft plan has been submitted to FEMA Region 1 for review. More information is available on the WRC website here.
17.5% - eligible communities also:
- Adopt ad river corridor protection bylaw that meets or exceeds state model regulations and guidelines; OR
- Maintain an active rate classification under FEMA’s NFIP Community Rating System (CRS) that includes activities that prohibit new structures in mapped flood hazard areas.
After a declared disaster the damage to public infrastructure including roads and culverts may approach a million dollars. Here is how the cost of damage will be carried by federal, state, and municipal taxpayers:
|7.5% ERAF Rate||12.5% ERAF rate||17.5% ERAF Rate|
|100% of $1,000,000||$1,000,000||$1,000,000||$1,000,000|
WRC Model Flood and Fluvial Erosion Hazard Bylaws
We are pleased to announce that we have recently completed the development of WRC Model Flood and Fluvial Erosion Hazard Regulations. There is a version for towns that have other zoning regulations (click here) and a version for towns without other zoning regulations (click here).
We are happy to assist interested towns with customizing the relevant new model to meet the needs of your town, and ensure that at least your current level of restriction is carried forward. You’ll see in the attached model bylaw where optional components and choices between restriction levels are clearly marked. These are some of the choices to be made when customizing this model to meet your town’s needs. Utilizing this model bylaw includes adoption of River Corridor regulations, which will enable your town to qualify for an increased state Emergency Relief Assistance Fund (ERAF) match of 17.5% as long as you meet the base 12.5% ERAF criteria beforehand.
Town Evacuation Planning
It is vital to consider evacuation planning prior to the need for a large scale evacuation. Residents should know what steps to take and how to evacuate, so that an evacuation can happen as smoothly as possible. Having an Evacuation Plan in place is one way to accomplish this.
Click here to download the Evacuation Plan template (Word document).
This template is meant to be an opportunity for towns to create an evacuation plan and evacuation mapping. In doing so, keep in mind that it is pivotal to talk with the larger facilities present in your town, including, resorts, medical facilities/clinics, schools/daycares, developments, and those who may need special assistance during an evacuation. This serves to coordinate evacuation planning and set expectations beforehand so no one is left wondering who will do what when. In creating your plan and mapping, consider creating a front/back handout with information and mapping (See appendix 4 of the template for an example) for residents to have should an evacuation be necessary. The Evacuation Plan template contains general guidance information that would be relevant to all towns in advance of and during an evacuation, as well as space where towns should add specifics for their own purposes. There are eight appendices included that should be specified for your town to be of use.
If your town already has an evacuation plan and evacuation mapping developed please let Alyssa know. Also, make this an opportunity to review and update your current plan. Does your plan contain the elements in the attached template? Have you recently talked with and coordinated evacuation planning expectations with the relevant facilities and parties present in your town? Do you have evacuation mapping developed, and have you shared that with your residents so they are educated about this issue? These are some considerations to make in reviewing your current evacuation planning efforts.
If you have questions, or would like us to review a plan with you, or for assistance in developing an evacuation plan, please contact Alyssa.
The National Incident Management System (NIMS)
NIMS provides a consistent nationwide template to enable all first responder organizations and other critical agencies to work together effectively during a domestic incident or event. NIMS compliance is also necessary for a Local Emergency Operations Plan (LEOP).
What does it mean to be NIMS compliant?
♦ To be NIMS compliant, you must be up to date and current with all the criteria laid out in the current Vermont NIMS Implementation Plan.
♦ Being compliant includes the following components:
- Adoption of NIMS
- Resource Typing
- Having completed the current version of the current version of the NIMS Survey
A helpful question and answer guide regarding NIMS is available here.
Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
WRC provides support to Windham County’s Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC 6) – an organization of first responders, Tier II reporting industries, businesses, and various members of all entities of emergency management (RACES, CERT, 211, Schools, Health Dept., Hospitals, EMD’s, Homeland Security, Red Cross, town planners). The group meets once a month on the third Tuesday. The primary function of the LEPC 6 is to provide education and training, outreach and emergency planning to assist in hazard response for the region. More information on the LEPC 6 can be found here.