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Hazard plan up for review

County seeks input on mitigation plan


Being prepared for a disaster takes a lot of planning. Sanders County is a step closer to updating its Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan, which includes strategy to reduce impacts of natural and manmade hazards. County officials have been working since November to update the plan with consulting firm Tetra Tech.

The plan must be updated every five years in order for the county to remain eligible for disaster funding from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA). Sanders County received a $50,000 FEMA Homeland Security grant to update the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan.

The first draft of the plan is complete, and the public has until April 30 to review and submit comments. The plan outlines mitigation projects designed to protect Sanders County from natural and man-made hazards, reduce loss to structures and infrastructure, and make the communities more resilient to disaster.

Bill Naegeli with the Sanders County Office of Emergency Management said that stakeholders reviewed hazards in the area and changed the ranking of a couple. He noted that cyber security was added as a possible hazard, and that public health issues are ranked higher in the updated plan.

“It’s definitely to the county’s benefit to have an updated plan,” Naegeli said. For instance, if the county has a wildfire, it would be eligible for recovery funds by having an updated plan.

The Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan details the top hazards in the county having the potential to impact the population and cause property loss. Sanders County stakeholders ranked the follow hazards as their top concerns:

1. Wildfire

2. Hazardous Material Incidents/ Transportation Accidents

3. Severe Weather and Drought

4. Flooding

5. Terrorism, Violence, Civil Unrest, Cyber Security

6. Communicable Disease

7. Landslide

8. Dam Failure

The plan also addresses goals, objectives and projects developed to mitigate the hazards.

The Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan is a FEMA-funded project that allows Sanders County to remain eligible for hazard mitigation grants.

Comments received from the first review of the draft plan will be addressed in a plan revision (final draft) which will then be submitted to FEMA for their review and approval. In May, a public meeting will be held to present the final plan to the county and incorporated communities for adoption.

The 2019 Sanders County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan can be accessed at: Select “Sanders County.” The password is “Thompson Falls.” A hard copy of the draft plan is available at the Sanders County Office of Emergency Management office in Thompson Falls and upon request can be provided on a CD.

Comments must be submitted by April 30 to:

Bill Naegeli, Sanders County Office of Emergency Management

1111 Main St.

P.O. Box 519

Thompson Falls, MT 59873

For information, contact Naegeli at 406-827-6955 or [email protected]


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