A Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) demonstrates a municipality’s commitment to reducing risks from natural hazards and serves as a guide for decision makers as they commit resources to minimize the effects of natural hazards, such as flooding, tornadoes, hurricane winds and fire. The HMP is the blueprint for reducing the City’s vulnerability to disasters and hazards. The plan is intended to both reduce damages to the existing built environment through the implementation of mitigation projects and to integrate with planning mechanisms already in place such as building and zoning regulations, environmental planning, and long-range planning mechanisms to prevent damage to future construction. The planning process includes conducting a thorough Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA), creating community disaster mitigation goals and objectives, and creating subsequent mitigation actions and projects for the City.
By participating in the planning process, Beverly will be eligible to apply for and receive grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reduce the vulnerability of residents and businesses within the community. To date, Beverly has received more than $1,411,000 in Federal funding for mitigation projects. Beverly’s first plan was written in 2005, and subsequently updated in 2012. A new update is required in 2017. Reducing vulnerability to disasters helps to break the cycle of disaster and aids in providing a more resilient future for the next generation.
Last year, Beverly was awarded a planning grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), to assist with updating the plan. The City has subsequently hired Dewberry Engineers, Inc. to facilitate the update process.
During the planning process, the Beverly Hazard Mitigation Steering Committee is actively involving private sector, non-profit, and other community partners in the planning process. There will be numerous opportunities for public involvement as well.
The objectives of the City of Beverly HMP Update are:
- Provide the public opportunities throughout the plan development and drafting process to provide input.
- Conduct a thorough Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) using the most recent disaster data and information.
- Formulating hazard mitigation goals, objectives and actions as they relate to reducing loss of life and property from natural hazards.
- Obtain state and federal approval of the HMP.
Hazard Mitigation Plan Update Process Summary:
This hazard mitigation planning process has multiple steps and will follow the process shown below:
STEP 1: Organize Resources & Ensure Stakeholder Participation
Relevant studies, plans, and reports are collected along with communications resources that allow the public to be involved throughout the planning process. A planning team is “built” that consists of municipal representatives, and local and regional stakeholders.
STEP 2: Develop the Plan’s Risk Assessment
Location and geographic extent of natural hazards that can affect the City along with their impacts and future probability is identified. Scientific and anecdotal evidence of past events is collected and evaluate the losses the community has sustained and hazards are ranked high to low. Potential dollar damages from various scenarios are quantified based on available data.
STEP 3: Assess Capabilities
Local capabilities in emergency management, the National Flood Insurance Program, planning and regulatory authority, administrative and technical knowledge, finances, and politics are examined and gaps are assessed.
STEP 4: Develop the Mitigation Strategy
Goals, objectives and actions are evaluated and updated as needed. The planning team defines appropriate mitigation techniques, and chooses and prioritizes mitigation actions and projects in the mitigation strategy, based on identified risks.
STEP 5: Determine Plan Implementation, Monitoring and Maintenance Process
The HMP is a living document that must be regularly reviewed, updated, and maintained. A schedule including responsible parties or agencies involved with monitoring, evaluating, and updating the plan during its five-year cycle is prepared. A process for integrating the updated Mitigation Strategy into existing plans and reports will be out lined and a plan for continued public outreach and participation determined.
STEP 6: Obtain Mitigation Plan Approval and Adoption
The draft plan is made available for public comment then submitted to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region I Office for review and approval. Once a Plan has been determined to meet all state and federal requirements, and receives official approval, it will be adopted by the City Council.
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