ABOVE: A flooded river access road. Floods are the most common natural disaster threat to Bellevue. // PHOTO BY VINCE TROIA
By VINCE TROIA
In recent years residents of west Nashville have hunkered down and helped out during natural disasters.
This year they can do even more.
Since a federal Disaster Mitigation Act was implemented in 2000, local agencies have been required to develop and maintain a Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan to remain eligible for federal disaster assistance and mitigation funding programs. Davidson County’s Office of Emergency Management leads the reviews and revisions to the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan and this month is encouraging public participation.
A Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan meeting, hosted by Emergency Management, will be held from 4-5 p.m. on April 17, and is open to the public. Folks are invited to give input about what can be done to reduce threats to people and property at the meeting in the community room of the Midtown Hills Police Precinct, 1441 12th Ave. South, Nashville.
There also will be a second meeting from 5-6 p.m. on May 2 at the South Precinct, 5101 Harding Place, Antioch. A third is being planned for August.
Emergency Management wants the public to provide input into the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan revision including hazard concerns, mitigation activities, and the actual plan/planning process. This meeting is open to the public and will serve as a free time for any community member, business or etc. who would like to speak with any of the planning team members.
Each year natural disasters take the lives of hundreds of people and injure thousands of others nationwide. Nashville is familiar with many of these as well, particularly floods and tornadoes.
The Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan identifies goals and measures to reduce the risk to the public, according to Joseph Pleasant, OEM’s public information officer. The plan’s purpose is to help make Davidson County communities less vulnerable and more disaster resistant.
“The goal is to break the disaster cycle.” Pleasant said. “We prepare for disasters, we respond to disasters, we recover from disasters, and before we have to prepare for the next disaster, we want to make it so that the next time we have a hazard it doesn’t affect us quite so much.”
Each year a multi-agency planning team reviews the MHMP in coordination with many agencies inside and outside of Metro Government including our surrounding cities.
Every five years, this same plan must be revised and submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for approval. Renewal of the plan every five years is required to encourage the continual awareness of mitigation strategies.
During 2019, this team will be going through this full revision process, and the public will be afforded the opportunity to participate. OEM and its partner agencies created a Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan Annual
Progress Report to inform the public on how well the plan is working, and this is the first year to provide the progress report, according to Pleasant.
As part of this process OEM wants to afford the public the opportunity to provide input into the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan revision including hazard concerns, mitigation activities, and the actual plan and planning process.
For different parts of the county, folks may have greater concerns about different types of natural disasters, and the plan tries to address those. For example, homeowners along the Harpeth River may be more concerned about flooding whereas people in northern parts of the county may worry more about tornadoes.
To help OEM gauge these feelings, residents are encouraged to complete a quick online survey as well at https://bit.ly/2OUUaPF.
You can read more about the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan Annual Progress Report and the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan in its entirety on the Office of Emergency Managements website: www.oem.nashville.gov.
Mitigation plans are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. They are most effective when implemented under a comprehensive, long-term mitigation plan.
Moreover, a FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plan is a condition for receiving certain types of non-emergency disaster assistance, including funding for mitigation projects. Ultimately, hazard mitigation planning enables action to reduce loss of life and property, lessening the impact of disasters.