Hazard Mitigation is defined as any action taken to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from natural hazards. Local jurisdictions (Municipal or County, as appropriate) are required to have a Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP). In Maine, HMPs are maintained at the County level and incorporate all municipal mitigation considerations. The current Cumberland County HMP was completed in December, 2005.
Every five years the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires an update to local HMPs. As such, the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) has contracted with the Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District to lead the effort. Each municipality in Cumberland County is required to participate in the process and to endorse the final product in order to gain FEMAs approval of the updated plan. With the approval comes renewed eligibility for all municipalities to compete for valuable mitigation grant funding.
Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency has prepared this website to inform the public, local and county officials of the preparation and update of the Cumberland County Hazard Mitigation Plan in accordance with revised state and federal requirements. An approved Hazard Mitigation Plan is a prerequisite for certain types of disaster assistance grants.
Requirement §201.6(c)(1): [The plan shall document] the planning process used to develop the plan, including how it was prepared, who was involved in the process, and how the public was involved.
Requirement §201.6(c)(4)(iii): [The plan maintenance process shall include a] discussion on how the community will continue public participation in the plan maintenance process.
Each municipality will receive a copy of the completed plan to keep on file at the municipal office. A notice will be posted at each municipal office advising the public of the availability of the plan for review. Municipalities with websites may choose to post the plan on their website. The plan will be posted on the CCEMA website and members of the public will be welcome to submit comments, suggestions or feedback on the plan to CCEMA, as well as to volunteer to be involved with hazard mitigation efforts. CCEMA will continue its efforts to coordinate with volu nteer community groups.
At the time of the 5-year review and updating of the plan, CCEMA will notify the public of the plan review and updating process and will invite public comment and participation in the process.
The HMP update process began, in earnest, earlier this spring. A detailed review of the status of projects listed in the 2005 HMP is ongoing and consideration is being given to new mitigation projects for incorporation in the 2010 HMP update. Local EMA Directors have been contacted by Cumberland County EMA to establish a meeting time with appropriate municipal officials to explain the plan update and to gather data supporting their mitigation projects. This data includes photographs and historical supporting documentation such as newspaper articles, invoices, equipment and personnel logs, etc. Also, site visits to project locations are conducted and Geographical Information System (GIS) data is collected using a Global Relief Technologies (GRT) Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) provided by the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). Cumberland County EMA is the only county in Maine using the GRT PDA for mapping and collection of field data for Hazard Mitigation Projects. To date, approximately half of our municipalities have participated in this process and the remainder have scheduled meetings to take place in the near future.
The data collection effort is extremely important. It will greatly facilitate the completion of pre-disaster mitigation grant applications should municipalities decide to compete for grant funding and it will provide important documentation to assist in the preparation of municipal capital improvement budgets. A summary of mitigation projects, either derived from or further refined with this data collection initiative, will be included in the 2010 HMP update.
Moving forward, Cumberland County EMA will continue collecting data on hazard events, such as large rain storms that produce flooding, and mapping specific locations that require mitigation. This should reduce the effort required by municipalities to track, update and record mitigation projects at the end of each five year planning period. Also, Public Works Directors have been provided with MEMA D-2 Damage “road tracker” forms to assist in the tracking of “history of damages”. Tracking hazard damage for mitigation projects is an important factor in the grant application process but generally proves to be difficult and time consuming to research. Utilizing “road tracker” forms can eliminate this difficulty by readily providing much of the history of repetitive damage needed when applying for these mitigation grants.
As previously noted, completion of this effort requires “adoption by the local governing body.” Therefore, the Cumberland County Commissioners and the Boards of Selectmen and the Councils of the 28 Incorporated Cities and Towns will be requested to adopt the 2010 Cumberland County Hazard Mitigation Plan prior to January, 2011. Adoption acknowledges that natural hazards create a risk of harm to persons and damage to property and that implementing certain measures may reduce the risk of harm to persons and damage to property resulting from these natural hazards.