Western Ky. counties' disaster plan now in place

By Dave Kirk - bio | email 
Posted by Rich Miller - email

OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) - Members of the Hazard Mitigation Plan Council say putting together the 700-page call to action didn't happen overnight.

"It took a lot of work," said Charlie Shields of Ohio County's emergency management agency.  "A lot of long hours."

The plan was put into place to identify every threat western Kentucky counties could encounter.

"A plan that documents the mitigation," said Misty Sampson of the Green River Area Development District.  "The natural hazard mitigation efforts of the region so it encompasses earthquakes, tornados, severe thunderstorms. It expresses how the region will address the hazards in the future."

So why's the plan important?

"Each city and county have an adopted plan in order to apply for FEMA mitigation dollars," Sampson explained.  "If a community does not have an approved plan then they would be ineligible for the funds. It can be anywhere from millions to you know just a few thousand. It's also dependent on disaster estimations that are submitted to the state."

In other words, if the federal government doesn't approve the plan, your community is on its own.

"When a disaster happens, there is no FEMA money available," said Shields.  "Just like the ice storm. You know every community in Kentucky was affected by it. That means everything they do is going to be out of pocket.  Ohio County funding would never allow us to buy two generators. One for our ELC and one for our courthouse for a 911 critical facility is. With us being a member of the Hazard Mitigation Plan, it has allowed us to get about $250,000."

GRADD officials tell us all seven counties they cover have adopted the hazard mitigation plan this year.