January 31. 2013 8:24PM

Derry hazard mitigation plan to be updated

Union Leader Correspondent

DERRY - The planning, public works and emergency management departments will soon begin updating the town's hazard mitigation plan.

The town will work with the Southern New Hampshire Planning Council to update the plan, according to Fire Chief George Klauber.

"The hazard mitigation plan is done every three to four years and looks at the entire property of the town," said Klauber. "It looks at any areas that need to be mitigated, and that could be wetlands or it could be slope areas."

Hazard mitigation planning is a relatively new field of planning spearheaded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the 1990s, according to the town's plan, which was adopted in 2004 and last updated in 2009.

Any areas that are determined to need mitigation are forwarded to the Southern New Hampshire Planning Council for inclusion in a long-term plan for the town.

Klauber said it also helps the public works, emergency management and fire departments budget for future mitigation projects.

Over the next several months, Klauber said representatives from those departments will be working with the planning department to update the hazard mitigation plan.

"Once the plan is written and accepted, we will forward that to FEMA," said Klauber. "The plan then allows us to apply for federal funds, which may be available to mitigate some of the areas."

The town's hazard mitigation plan was adopted in 2004 and last updated in 2009.

FEMA began the call for hazard mitigation planning in the 1990s following Hurricane Andrew, which caused more than $20 billion in damage across a number of southern states and resulted in 54 deaths.

The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 was intended to help communities and states prepare for and deal with similar disasters.

The 2009 plan addresses natural hazards including flooding, wind, wildfire, ice and snow events, and earthquakes. It also identifies critical facilities, a list of emergency equipment or areas that need to respond at the time of a natural disaster, and equipment or areas that could be threatened if a natural disaster occurs.