Community invited to take survey and attend meeting about reducing risks from natural disasters

Posted October 17, 2019 at 9:33 am     Category: Communications & OutreachEmergency ManagementEngineeringNews ReleaseOtherPlanning and Land Use

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – The public is invited to learn about regional strategies to protect life and property from natural disasters at a hazard mitigation informational meeting on October 22 at 6 p.m. This community meeting, which kicks off the update process for the Southeastern NC Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan, will be held in the Paynter Room of the Northeast Library at 1241 Military Cutoff Rd.

New Hanover County participates with the City of Wilmington, beach towns, Brunswick, Onslow and Pender counties and their municipalities in the Southeastern NC Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan, which outlines goals and strategies to reduce the risk of damage caused by natural disasters like hurricanes, floods and tornadoes. The plan undergoes review every five years, with the next review to be completed in 2021.

“The effects of natural disasters like hurricanes don’t stop at county boarders,” said New Hanover County Emergency Management Director Steven Still. “When we experience impacts, so do our neighboring communities. That’s why we work together to collect input and develop comprehensive strategies across counties to reduce our risks from severe weather events and other threats. And an important part of this process is to hear from residents about their priorities when it comes to mitigating hazards in our region.”

Residents can participate in the development of the 2021 Southeastern NC Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan and provide input by completing a survey online, by visiting the New Hanover County Emergency Management Department at 230 Government Center Dr., Suite 115, Wilmington, and by attending the community meeting on October 22.

Strategies in the Southeastern NC Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan focus on six primary focus areas for the region, as well as each participating jurisdiction:

  1. Prevention Mechanisms – Rules that frame the way the community grows. This includes administrative or regulatory actions around land development and building. Examples of these types of rules include zoning, building codes, open space preservation or conservation and floodplain regulations.
  2. Property Protection – Changing existing buildings or removing buildings to prevent hazards from damaging them. Examples include buyouts, relocation, elevation (to protect from floods), making buildings stronger and adding things like storm shutters.
  3. Natural Resource Protection – Preserving areas, or restoring areas to original habitat to perform natural functions. This can be done in addition to minimizing hazard losses. Examples include habitat preservation, slope stabilization and forest management.
  4. Emergency Services – Actions that protect people and/or protect property during and immediately after a hazard event. Examples include planning for evacuation, warning systems or protecting or reinforcing emergency facilities or systems.
  5. Structural Mitigation – Projects that lessen the impact of a hazard by changing the natural progression of the hazard. Examples include dams, levees, retention ponds, retaining walls and storm sewers.
  6. Public Education – Actions that inform people about hazards and how they can protect themselves, their family and their property. Examples include outreach/media campaigns, school education programs, written materials and special events.

A Hazard Mitigation Plan is required for local government to remain eligible for federal grants including the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program and Flood Mitigation Assistance Program, as well as Public Assistance for state-declared disasters. Participation is also credited to the county’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System score. The Community Rating System is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. Nearly half of the strategies outlined in the 2016 Southeastern NC Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan directly relate to floodplain management.

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Kate Oelslager

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Communications and Outreach: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 195 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7461 • Fax 910-798-7277
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