Ocean County OEM: Input Sought On Comprehensive Hazards Mitigation Plan

The Ocean County Office of Emergency Management is seeking the public’s input as it develops a plan to address a variety of potential hazards that can affect the county’s citizens, facilities and the economy.“It’s very important to get public participation in developing our Multi-Jurisdictional All Hazards Mitigation Plan,” said Acting Sheriff William Sommeling, who serves as the county’s Emergency Management Coordinator. “This plan will not only address potential hazards but will identify projects that can reduce damages from natural, man-made and technological hazards.”

The plan will include a risk assessment and a hazard mitigation strategy.

“With Superstorm Sandy fresh in everyone’s mind we want our citizens, elected officials, and emergency responders to help develop the plan that is best for Ocean County,” Sommeling said. “Through the Office of Emergency Management we will be providing a number of opportunities to gather input for the plan.”

Two meetings are scheduled for May. The dates, times and locations are from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., May 14 at the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management, Ocean County Airport, Route 530 and Mule Road, Berkeley Township, and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., May 20 at the Ocean County Southern Service Center, 179 South Main Street (Route 9) in Manahawkin.

As part of the meetings brief presentations will be held at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. The meetings are designed as open houses and the public is encouraged to stay as long as they choose in order to gather information on hazard mitigation and provide their input.

Sommeling said it was important to note that these meetings were to gather input for the county’s plan and are separate from ongoing informational meetings pertaining to FEMA flood maps and other issues directly associated with the Superstorm Sandy recovery.

“The Ocean County Multi-Jurisdictional All Hazards Mitigation Plan will be the blueprint for reducing property damage and saving lives from the effects of future natural and human-made disasters,” Sommeling said. “And, while the steps we took before, during and after Sandy will no doubt be part of the input this plan looks at other hazards that can potentially affect Ocean County including forest fires, winter storms, extreme temperatures, and man-made hazards.”

“Because we want to make certain this is a comprehensive plan, prepared in accordance with state and federal standards, it is important we get feedback from all of our municipalities,” Sommeling said.

In addition, Sommeling said the creation of this plan will allow the County and its participating municipalities to be eligible for future mitigation funding from the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

The study will focus on existing and future buildings, infrastructure and critical facilities that might be impacted, as well as people and economic resources. Critical facilities include shelters and hospitals; infrastructure includes power-generation facilities, water utilities, roadways, and communication systems. [TLS]

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