As you know in its 2009 budget, the Town of Greenburgh appropriated funding for the creation of a Comprehensive All Hazards Emergency Management and Mitigation Plan (CAHEMMP) for the unincorporated Town of Greenburgh and the six villages within its borders. Although each municipality within the township may have a plan to address a serious incident occurring in their respective jurisdiction, none of us are capable of managing a major disaster without the assistance of our neighbors, and presently there is no single plan to facilitate a multi-jurisdictional response to such an event. This plan will address that deficiency. It will also create a town wide Hazard Mitigation Plan. The lack of such a plan makes a municipality ineligible to apply for certain types of state and federal hazard mitigation grants.
The Town has selected the company Tetra Tech EM, Inc., of 100 Enterprise Dr. Suite 400, Rockaway, N.J. 07866 as the project consultant who will develop this FEMA-approved Comprehensive All Hazards Emergency Management and Mitigation Plan.
At the Greenburgh Town Board meeting on February 24, 2010 at 7:30 p.m., a representative from Tetra Tech EM. Inc. will be providing an overall informational presentation of this plan and will be available on this evening to answer any questions you or the public may have may have. For your edification I have included the following overview of this plan.
The Town of Greenburgh, through the Greenburgh Police Department, is leading the creation of a Comprehensive All-Hazards Emergency Management and Mitigation Plan for the Town and six Villages (Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington and Tarrytown).
The creation of this All Hazards Mitigation Plan will allow the Town and participating Villages to be eligible for future mitigation funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This is an opportunity for the Greenburgh area to create a detailed plan that will address a variety of potential hazards that could affect our residents, businesses and other institutions.
The goal of the plan is to identify projects that can reduce damages from future natural hazards. The plan will include a risk assessment and a hazard-mitigation strategy. This plan will address the Town’s risk to flooding, coastal storms, severe storms and severe winter storms, and may consider other hazards such as earthquake.
The study will focus on existing and future buildings, and infrastructure and critical facilities that might be impacted. Infrastructure includes power-generation facilities, water utilities, roadways, railroads and communication systems. Critical facilities include emergency facilities, schools, shelters and hospitals.
This planning process shall be conducted over the course of a year, starting in early 2010. The public and local and regional stakeholders will be encouraged to provide input to the planning process.
Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000
The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000) is federal legislation that establishes a pre-disaster hazard mitigation program and new requirements for the national post-disaster Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). DMA 2000 encourages and rewards local and state pre-disaster planning, promotes sustainability, and seeks to integrate state and local planning with an overall goal of strengthening statewide hazard mitigation planning. This enhanced planning approach enables local, tribal, and state governments to articulate accurate and specific needs for hazard mitigation, which results in faster, more efficient allocation of funding and more effective risk reduction projects.
WHAT IS HAZARD MITIGATION?
Hazard Mitigation is any action taken to reduce the loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters (natural, technological and man-made). It is often considered the first of the four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
Mitigation measures fall into the following six general categories:
Prevention: Achieved through planning and zoning, open space preservation, and development regulations, building codes, storm water management, fire fuel reduction, soil erosion, and sediment control.
Property Protection: Achieved through acquisition, relocation, storm shutters, rebuilding, barriers, flood proofing, insurance, and structural retrofits for high winds and earthquake hazards.
Public Education and Awareness: Achieved through outreach projects, real estate disclosure, hazard information centers, technical assistance, and school age and adult education programs.
Natural Resource Protection: Achieved through erosion and sediment control, stream corridor protection, vegetative management, and wetlands preservation.
Emergency Services: Achieved through hazard threat recognition, hazard warning systems, emergency response, protection of critical facilities, and health and safety maintenance.
Structural Projects: Achieved through dams, levees, seawalls, bulkheads, revetments, high flow diversions, spillways, buttresses, debris basins, retaining walls, channel modifications, storm sewers, and retrofitted buildings and elevated roadways (seismic protection).
WHAT IS A HAZARD MITIGATION PLAN?
FEMA defines a Hazard Mitigation Plan as the documentation of a state or local government's evaluation of natural hazards and the strategies to mitigate such hazards.
Hazard mitigation planning is the process of determining how to reduce or eliminate the loss of life and property damage resulting from natural hazards. Section 322 of the DMA 2000 specifically addresses mitigation planning at the state and local levels. FEMA has promulgated hazard mitigation planning regulations pursuant to the DMA 2000. These regulations identify four essential phases to mitigation planning: 1) organize resources, 2) assess risks, 3) develop mitigation plan, and 4) implement mitigation plan and monitor progress.
The Town of Greenburgh is facilitating a planning process that includes the six Villages. The Plan will demonstrate the area’s commitment to reducing risk and serve as a guide for decision makers as they commit resources to minimize the effects of natural hazards.
HOW DOES THE PLAN BENEFIT THE TOWN AND VILLAGES?
A hazard mitigation plan will assist the Town and six Villages with the following:
- An increased understanding of natural hazards the area faces.
- Development of more sustainable and disaster-resistant communities.
- Eligibility for federal funds for pre-disaster mitigation planning (DMA 2000).
- Partnerships that support planning and mitigation efforts and may offer potential financial savings:
- Flood Insurance premium reductions
- Broader resources for funding of mitigation projects
- Enhanced benefit-cost ratios for Corps of Engineer projects.
- Reduced long-term impacts and damages to human health and structures, and reduced repair costs.
Proactive mitigation leads to sustainable, more cost-effective projects. By contrast, reactive mitigation tends to lead to the "quick fix" alternatives; it simply costs too much to address the effects of disasters only after they happen. A surprising amount of damage can be prevented if the Town and Villages anticipate where and how disasters will occur, and takes steps to mitigate those damages.
HAZARD MITIGATION PLANNING COMMITTEE
The Town is forming a Planning Committee, including representatives from the Town and Villages government, departments, boards and agencies, along with local stakeholders (business, education, utilities, etc.) and interested citizens. This Committee shall be responsible for assuring that the interests and concerns of their communities and organizations are represented in the planning process as a comprehensive Plan to manage hazard risk is developed.
Joseph J. DeCarlo
Chief of Police