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Northern Delaware River Region communities planning for future disasters
Release Date: May 20, 2010

For Immediate Release

Northern Delaware River Region communities planning for future disasters

Federal emergency management grant jumpstarts initiative

Newton - The Offices of Emergency Management of Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon and Mercer counties, working jointly, have begun developing Hazard Mitigation Plans for the four-county Northern Delaware River Region and its 85 municipalities.

"We are partnering with our sister counties to develop comprehensive Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plans to bring all of our municipalities in compliance with Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements. PDM plans are a requirement for future FEMA funding in certain categories," said Eskil S. "Skip" Danielson, Sussex County Emergency Management Director and the project lead for the Northern Delaware River Region.

The main natural hazard in the region is flooding, but other potential hazards will also be analyzed, such as windstorms, hazardous material releases, dam failure, wildfires and severe winter weather. The Hazard Mitigation Plans will determine what public and private property is at risk to these hazards, and propose ways to eliminate or reduce - in other words, to "mitigate" - that risk. An important part of these plans will be identifying projects that are eligible for federal funding. The creation of these plans is also required for the counties and their participating municipalities to be eligible for future mitigation funding from FEMA.

"Having pre-disaster mitigation plans will lead to reduced exposure, a wiser use of public funds, identification of effective projects, strategic pathways to getting them done and better integration of hazard mitigation into land use planning," according to Peter Dennen, the project manager for James Lee Witt Associates, the nationally recognized consultant organization that has been hired to conduct the planning effort.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded the four counties a grant to support development of the plan. The region is using the money to hire James Lee Witt Associates to help develop the counties' plans in accordance with state and federal standards. However, the counties and their municipalities will contribute their time and expertise in making sure the plans address the issues that are most important to the counties' residents and property owners.

More information about the Northern Delaware River Region's Hazard Mitigation Plans.

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