CENTREVILLE — Queen Anne’s County Commissioners recognized EMS Week with a proclamation and heard the latest on the county’s Hazard Mitigation Plan from the Department of Emergency Services Tuesday, May 21.
DES Director Scott Haas was joined by Lori Morris, chief of Special Operations, and Jenny Smith of S&S Planning and Design LLC to discuss the importance of having a plan in place to secure Federal Emergency Management Agency funding when needed.
The 14-month process to develop the plan covers “sustaining action to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property.”
The roadmap to evaluating hazards such as weather-related issues must be renewed every five years, according to Smith, but must also be maintained in between the renewal periods. A plan is required for every county by federal law.
“If counties are going to use federal funding, then they need to minimize their risk,” said Smith. “The plan for the county has been reviewed by FEMA and approved. It’s just waiting on adoption by both the county and the municipalities within that jurisdiction. Every dollar we spend on hazard mitigation saves $6 on future disaster losses.”
In-kind grants have fully funded the development of the HMP by a committee of stake holders. Citizens also had their say via an electronic survey available prior to a draft of the plan being prepared for federal review.
Additions to the county HMP included plan integration of other program documents that existed prior to the hazard audit by S&S Planning and Design.
Both a nuisance and road flooding plan were added.
“There is an implementation matrix involved with hazard mitigation,” Smith said. “That was based on the hazards and when that work could be done in the give timeframe since more than one department would be involved.”
Following the update, DES Assistant Chief Scott Wheatly received a proclamation to celebrate EMS Week and the importance of first responders.
“This is a small example of the hard work by EMS providers when the (department) gets any praise,” said Wheatly. “All that is because of the staff and their dedication makes it happen for this county. We try to provide the best service to residents, so we thank the commissioners for all their support.”
Commissioner Steve Wilson read the proclamation underscoring the “vital public service to Queen Anne’s County” and noted that EMS was prepared daily for responding to myriad incidents.
“EMS services dramatically improves the survival and recovery rate of those who experience a sudden illness or injury and first responders, whether career or volunteers, engage in thousands of hours of specialized training,” Wilson said.