Somerset County residents can learn more about a comprehensive hazards-mitigation plan for the county and its 21 municipalities and also complete an online citizen questionnaire at www.co.somerset.nj.us/hazard/survey/citizensurvey.htm.
The survey is a follow-up to one conducted five years ago, when county staff and municipal representatives collaborated to create the All-Hazards Mitigation Plan, under the auspices of the Board of Freeholders.
The online questionnaire will help the county better assess the nature, extent and probability of various hazards in Somerset County. The 23-question survey takes about five minutes to complete.
“Having a comprehensive All Hazards Mitigation plan in place allows the county and participating municipalities to be eligible for future mitigation funding from FEMA,” Freeholder and public health and safety liaison Mark Caliguire said. “We’re very eager to get the public’s input to help us update this very detailed plan that addresses a variety of potential hazards that could affect some or all of our citizens.”
The goal of the plan is to identify projects that can reduce damages from future natural hazards. The plan includes a risk-assessment and a hazard-mitigation strategy.
The risk assessment includes four phases: identifying hazards that may impact the county and its municipalities; profiling the relevant hazards and their potential consequences; identifying assets that are subject to losses or damage, including physical structures, functions and populations; and estimating the potential losses that could result from each type of hazard. The hazard-mitigation strategy includes a prioritized list of actions designed to reduce losses.
The primary hazard in Somerset County is flooding, but other potential hazards to be analyzed include drought, extreme cold, extreme heat, snow, ice, hail, windstorms and tornadoes, among others.
The county’s and towns’ vulnerability to various hazards is determined in terms of existing and future buildings, infrastructure and critical facilities that might be impacted. Critical facilities include shelters and hospitals; infrastructure includes power-generation facilities, water utilities, roadways, railroads and communication systems.
For more information and to view the plan, visit www.co.somerset.nj.us/hazard/index.htm.