Iroquois County residents, community leaders, business owners, area agencies and organizations now have an opportunity to share how severe weather events impact their property and lives. There is also an opportunity to share their ideas on how to reduce local impacts in the future.
The Iroquois County Emergency Management Agency is working with American Environmental Corporation from Springfield, Illinois to update the county’s Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP). The plan assesses the natural hazards that pose risk to the county, such as tornadoes, straight line winds, ice storms, blizzards, wildfire, flooding, and extreme temperatures and identifies ways to minimize the damage of future events. As the county works to update the plan, it wants to hear from the public.
The Iroquois County HMP is a multi-jurisdictional plan that covers Iroquois County including all cities, villages, and communities within Iroquois County. This HMP also incorporates the concerns and needs of townships, drainage districts, school districts, and area agencies or organizations participating in the plan. The plan will be updated by a planning team made up of representatives from county departments, local municipalities, school districts and other key stakeholders. When completed, the plan will be submitted to the Illinois Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for approval.
“Hazard mitigation planning is a central part of our emergency management program,” said Scott Anderson, Iroquois County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator. “Understanding the natural hazards that can cause serious impact to our communities and taking action to reduce or eliminate the impact of future disasters makes us more resilient. Hazard mitigation helps us to break the cycle of damage and repair caused by things like flooding, ice storms, and severe wind events that can damage property, stress economies, and threaten life safety in Iroquois County.”
Examples of hazard mitigation include:
• Conducting public outreach on severe weather awareness and preparedness
• Limiting or restricting development in floodplain areas
• Removing existing buildings from flood prone areas
• Constructing community safe rooms in vulnerable areas such as mobile home parks
• Installing emergency warning systems
Some mitigation activities may be eligible for future FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant funding.
Public input is an essential part of the plan update. As part of the planning process, Iroquois County is seeking feedback from residents and businesses from across the county to incorporate into the plan:
• What are the natural hazards you feel pose the greatest risk to your community?
• What concerns do you have, and what sorts of actions do you feel would help to reduce damages of future hazard events in your community or the county as a whole?
Comments, concerns, or questions regarding natural disasters and potential mitigation actions to be included into the plan update should be submitted to Iroquois County Emergency Management Agency by phone, email, or by posting a comment via a social media posting of this article. There will be additional opportunities for public feedback throughout the planning process.
A draft of the plan will be made available for public review prior to submission of the plan to the State of Illinois. Future news releases will be shared with the media to notify the public of these opportunities. The Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000) requires counties to update their plan every 5 years to maintain eligibility for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs.
Iroquois County Emergency Management Coordinator
Phone: (815) 432-6997 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org