Carroll Digest


August 18, 2004

Public workshop tomorrow to discuss disaster, hazard plan

A public workshop will be held tomorrow on the draft of the county's Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Staff from the Carroll County Bureau of Comprehensive Planning and the Office of Public Safety prepared the plan. Officials from both offices will be available to answer questions.

Potential hazards addressed in the plan draft include hurricanes, soil movement and sinkholes, drought, tornadoes, winter storms, floods and dam failure.

The workshop, scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Room 003 of the Carroll County Office Building, will follow an open-house format. Residents may come and go at any time.

After the workshop, comments will be addressed in a finalized draft to be submitted to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency by Sept. 1.

Hazard mitigation refers to any action taken to reduce or eliminate risk to people and property from hazards. A hazard mitigation plan consists of:

Hazard analysis: Identifying types of hazards to address and the areas most at risk.

Risk assessment: Measuring potential loss of life, economic injury and property damage.

Mitigation strategies: Suggesting and prioritizing actions to reduce hazard vulnerability.

Plan maintenance: Describing a method for monitoring, evaluating and updating the plan.

Examples of local mitigation measures might include enacting and enforcing building codes and zoning ordinances, conducting public information campaigns, retrofitting school buildings or modifying tree-pruning procedures.

The federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 includes a requirement that all communities have an approved mitigation plan by Nov. 1 to be eligible for certain types of federal hazard mitigation funding.

MEMA will review the plan and offer comments to help the county prepare it for submission to the Federal Emergency Management Agency by Nov. 1.

The County Office Building is at 225 N. Center St., Westminster.

Information: 410-386-2247.

Taneytown volunteer joins Red Cross' Fla. relief effort

Kellie Mendenhall of Taneytown is one of three volunteers from the Red Cross of Central Maryland who has been sent to Florida to help with disaster relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Charley.

Mendenhall flew to Florida yesterday with volunteers from Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties. She is joining a "hardship assignment," entering an area where she will have to boil her drinking water and where power and housing might not be available. The volunteers will be staying in staff shelters in Orlando, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda.

The Red Cross is providing meals, clothing, shelter and mental health counseling to the hurricane victims. Volunteers are driving emergency response vehicles through hard-hit neighborhoods, handing out food and cleanup kits, and conducting damage assessment.

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