STAFF: ALYSSA SABETTO
Planning for Resiliency
What can we do now to lower our risk before disaster strikes? This is the basis of Hazard Mitigation Planning.
A disaster resilient Town is designed to be more in harmony with the natural environment so that risk to human life, animal life, and the built environment is minimized, thus causing less disruption to social and economic facets of the community.
Historic development patterns and alterations to the natural environment have exacerbated risks and increased vulnerability in some areas. This leads to increased damages when disasters happen. Designing or altering a community to be more in harmony with the natural environment, whether through appropriate siting, design and construction methods, or conservation, preparation and preparedness activities, can lower risk and vulnerability to these areas.
Why does my Town need a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP)?
- It’s smart planning!
- Less damage when disasters happen
- Less expense and time spent in disaster recovery
- Necessary piece of ERAF compliance for maximum Federal and State grants
What is the purpose of a LHMP?
The purpose of a LHMP is to proactively lower risk before disasters happen. The plan is a tool to organize, prioritize and develop the mitigation actions that will do this. It is a meant to address multiple hazards including flooding, winter storms, wildfire, power failures, high winds and other emergencies that your Town may face. It also serves as a historic reference of hazard events.
What is the LHMP process?
The process begins with the Town forming an LHMP Committee. The WRC Emergency Planner, Alyssa Sabetto, will then meet with the LHMP Committee to kick off the plan. Alyssa will review your current LHMP and work with the Committee to identify hazards, develop mitigation actions and draft the plan.
Alyssa’s role is to guide the Town through the LHMP process; do the writing and behind the scenes research to update the plan; facilitate meetings; and work with the State Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) and FEMA to ensure the plan meets or exceeds all compliance standards.
The Town’s role is to provide input, and local and historic knowledge; organize, advertise and attend meetings (usually 2-3 meetings are held throughout the process); and document all public outreach/advertisement for input into the plan (a FEMA compliance requirement).
When the draft plan is ready, it will be submitted to DEMHS and FEMA for review and comment. Once all comments/revisions have been addressed, and FEMA has given preliminary approval of the plan, it is ready to be adopted by the Town. After adoption the plan will be submitted to FEMA for final approval. The five year clock for the next update begins when FEMA gives final approval of the adopted plan.
How can the public participate?
- Stay connected to your community and aware of upcoming meetings in your Town.
- Review and comment on your Town’s draft Local Hazard Mitigation Plan when it’s developed. We want your local knowledge about:
- The hazards of greatest concern to you;
- How natural hazards have affected you or your neighbors in the past; and
- How you think damages can be prevented or mitigated in the future.
- Adopted LHMPs are in the Towns section of our website.
Image source: Vermont’s Roadmap to Resilience Report from the Institute for Sustainable Communities