County adopts mitigation plan

Published 11:00 pm Friday, July 1, 2011

The mitigation plan adopted this week by Troy leaders is an effort to reduce the loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters.

Jeanna Barnes, director of the Pike County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), said the plan has items in it that identify projects that could be done to lessen the impact of disasters throughout Pike County.

“For example, some of the mitigation projects could be elevating flood-prone structures, improving storm water draining systems, adding hurricane shutters to improve building wind resistance and constructing or installing community or individual safe rooms,” Barnes said. “The grant funds can be used to update our plan.”

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The grants come from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), which provide states and local governments a means by which they can implement long-term mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration.

“Those grant funds have been made available because of the tornadoes back in April,” Barnes said. “It was a big enough disaster that it was a federally declared disaster, therefore it made all 67 counties eligible to apply for grant money.”

Barnes said letters of intent for the construction of individual safe rooms have been sent to the state and will begin working on the full applications, which are due in September.

“We’ll be working with individuals to get those taken care of,” Barnes said.

Barnes said approximately 45 Pike County residents have sent letters of intent to apply for grant money for storm shelters and safe rooms. “Another part of that mitigation are sirens,” Barnes said. “I’m sending a letter of intent in to apply for additional sirens for the county.”

In order for individuals to qualify for the mitigation money, Barnes said, first, people have to live within an area that is eligible for HMGP funds and that jurisdiction has to have an approved plan and has to have been adopted.

“We’re good there, because we’ve done all of that,” Barnes said.

Barnes said Pike County’s mitigation plan had been updated last year, according to standards, and all Pike County jurisdictions have adopted the plan.

“Individuals can’t apply themselves, instead they have to apply for grant money through their jurisdiction,” Barnes said. “They have to be sponsored in a sense, and that’s kind of what we do. We help people go through that application process.”

According to Barnes, the “big” thing to come out of this mitigation plan is the opportunity to acquire grant money for individual and community storm shelters.

Barnes said once the county finds out whether individuals have been approved, then, upon approval, they have to get the company they want to install the storm shelter, pay for it and then the county will help with the reimbursement process.