The Herkimer County Office of Emergency Services is updating the County’s 2017 Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. This plan is an opportunity to detail a variety of potential hazards that could affect some or all of our residents and will also allow the County and the participating jurisdictions to be eligible for future mitigation funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). During the planning process, the Planning Partnership will actively be involving private sector, non-profit, and other community partners in the planning process. The approach is consistent with the “Whole Community Approach,” which seeks to involve the entire community in disaster and hazard planning.

A Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) is a living document that communities use to reduce their vulnerability to hazards. HMPs form the foundation for a community’s long-term strategy to reduce disaster losses and break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. They create a framework for risk-based decision-making to reduce damages to lives, property, and the economy from future disasters.

The goal of this plan is to identify projects that can reduce damages from future natural and non-natural hazards. The plan will include a risk assessment and a hazard mitigation strategy. The study will focus on existing buildings and potential future development, infrastructure, and critical facilities that might be impacted. Critical Facilities are those facilities considered critical to the health and welfare of the population and that are especially important following a hazard. Critical facilities include essential facilities, transportation systems, lifeline utility systems, high-potential loss facilities, and hazardous material facilities.

The update of this plan allows the county and participating jurisdictions to continue to be eligible for future pre-disaster mitigation funding from FEMA. Example of grant-eligible projects include home acquisitions or elevations – to either remove houses located in the floodplain to generate open space and increase flood storage or to raise their first floor above the FEMA base flood elevation – and local flood control measures. Ultimately, these actions reduce vulnerability, and communities are able to recover more quickly from disasters.

Public participation and feedback are a vital part of the hazard mitigation planning process. Herkimer County has developed a Public Preparedness Survey to provide the public an opportunity to contribute to the 2023 HMP update. This survey is anonymous and will be used to develop portions of the plan: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HerkimerCountyHMPPublic.

If you would like more information on how to get involved in this project, contact John Raymond, Director of Emergency Services, at 315-867-1212 or jraymond@herkimercounty.org.

To keep up to date with the project, visit: https://www.herkimercountynyhmp.com/.