Disaster Preparation
1:39 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Towns Prepare Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plans

A project underway to help municipalities better prepare for natural disasters has taken on new meaning after Superstorm Sandy.  

Eugene Livshits, Regional Land Use planner with the South Central Regional Council of Governments, says extreme weather has underscored how important it is for municipalities to have pre-disaster plans in place.

"This is a pre-disaster mitigation grant awarded from the CT Dept of Emergency and Environmental Protection which basically goes through FEMA."

He says many coastal communities in the New Haven region currently do not have hazard mitigation plans. "... and we felt it was more appropriate to do it on a regional level for the communities involved."

The regional council is made up of 15 towns, 5 of which have plans in place. 

Lifshits is currently talking with residents and local leaders in the other ten to pinpoint their particular vulnerabilities and collect town specific data.  The goal is to better protect the whole region from natural disasters like storms, floods, and earthquakes.

To date, most municipalities cite as their top concerns coastal erosion and flooding,  falling trees and power outages.

Regional  Council Executive Director Carl  Amento says other parts of the state already have hazard mitigation plans."So we’re kind of late to the game. That’s good in the sense that there’s lots of information to build upon and these recent storms have kind of blown away some of the models that maybe were done a few years ago."

The Nature Conservancy is also collaborating with data on coastal resilience and sea level rise.

The goal is to have a final plan in place by September of 2013.