Emergency Management Department updating its preparedness plans for natural disasters


How can we better prepare for the impacts from natural disasters? That’s a question the Skagit County Department of Emergency Management (DEM) and its partners plan to answer with an update to the county’s Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan (NHMP).

The NHMP is a multijurisdictional planning document that benefits city, town and tribal partners throughout Skagit County. Its overarching goal is to reduce vulnerability and lessen the impact of disasters on the local community by creating plans for taking action in advance. It was last updated in 2014.

“Skagit County has historically faced floods, severe windstorms, winter storm and even volcanic activity,” said Doug ten Hoopen, Director of Emergency Management. “We can’t predict when the next natural disaster might strike, but we can plan ahead – and work with our community – to find ways to minimize the risks. The NHMP basically acts as our risk-reduction roadmap.”

As part of the update, Skagit County DEM will solicit input from residents, specifically looking for local knowledge of the community’s vulnerability to hazards based on past events. The community can participate in public meetings, submit feedback online, review draft maps, and track the plan’s progress online. This process will be directed by a Steering Committee and Planning Team made up of representatives from local jurisdictions, tribal partners, special purpose districts, citizens, and other stakeholders from within the planning area.

The NHMP update is funded by a planning grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Skagit County is working with Beverly O’Dea of Bridgeview Consulting, LLC, to complete the planning and update process. Updates will be posted online at skagitcounty.net/dem.

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