Local Hazard Mitigation Plan – Seattle, Washington

Local Hazard Mitigation Plan – Seattle, Washington

Section: Element E. Plan Adoption

Title of Plan and Date of PlanLocal Hazard Mitigation Plan – Seattle, Washington2011
Reviewer’s name andDate of mitigation plan review:

REGULATION CHECKLIST

ELEMENT E. Plan AdoptionRegulation (44 CFR 201.6 Local Mitigation Plans)
Location in Plan:Section & page numberMetNot Met
E1. Does the Plan include documentation that the plan has been formally adopted by the governing body of the jurisdiction requesting approval? (Requirement §201.6(c)(5))47
E2. For multi‐jurisdictional plans, has each jurisdiction requesting approval of the plan documented formal plan adoption? (Requirement §201.6(c)(5))52

ELEMENT E: REQUIRED REVISIONS:

The Plan Adoption

The plan does include documentation that the plan has been formally adopted by the governing body of the jurisdiction requesting approval. This documentation is important for ensuring that the concerned parties can be held accountable for their actions. Hazard mitigation plans are supposed to be plans for Seattle to save their citizens from harm that would have been avoided or averted. The mitigation plans are made to prevent full on damage in Seattle as a result of a disaster. The plan has been implemented in part as is evident in the case where the Fire Facilities and Emergency Response Levy program has accomplished seven projects that were in the plan. The program has built and taken up the premise of a new fire station along with a new emergency operations center (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2009). The fire department has been fitted with state of the art equipment. The joint training facility for the city has been constructed and is now fully operational, emergency generators have been bought for six city community centers, the emergency caches have been purchased to shelter people in case they are rendered homeless by an earthquake or any incident that would destroy homes and finally, two fire boats were purchased to help deal with vessel fires or any fires along the coast line. This is an indication that the plans in Seattle are being implemented with the seriousness they deserve. The Seattle All-Hazard Mitigation plan is effective if it has been implemented satisfying the disaster mitigation requirements by FEMA.

The Hazard mitigation plans for Seattle are important to review as most of the plans have been achieved. This makes Seattle an ideal place to study when reviewing the importance and effectiveness of the hazard mitigation plans. The plan for Seattle is elaborate and has provisions for updating as need arises. This means that if a new hazard is discovered and it has to be put in the plan. The hazard mitigation planners are always working to ensure that Seattle is safe and can respond to the disasters that occur over time. The fact that each plan can be reviewed and updated regularly is important as it ensures that the state works with current statistics. For the purposes of accountability, the planning committee is the same one which assigns responsibilities (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2009). The counties also have to work together with the state to ensure elaborate achievement of the hazard mitigation plans. The ability by the members of the public to participate in the creation and execution of the plan is a positive sign. It means that Seattle is well organized because public awareness has always been a challenge in the implementation of any project. The documentation of these plans is supposed to ensure that Seattle can account for the funds that were allocated for hazard mitigation. Having clear plans also makes it easy for the state and the federal government to cooperate. The safety of the people of Seattle is assured when people can be held accountable for the roles that had been assigned to them by the Hazard mitigation planning committee.

Multi-jurisdictional plans

The multi-jurisdictional plans have to be implemented by the state. This means that each county has to develop their own hazard mitigation plans under the guidelines of FEMA. Seattle being the biggest city in Washington State, has the responsibility of leading by example. The ability of Washington State to implement the hazard mitigation plans ensures that the other cities in Washington State see that it is possible. It is important that the Washington State also draws out plans that can accommodate other cities in their plans. This is especially because some disasters spill over human drawn boundaries like the explosion of volcanoes or even floods. This means that the areas which are under different jurisdictions but are in close geographical proximity share an appropriate hazard mitigation plan. The various jurisdictions in this situations will have to put together a plan that will be approved by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2009). Beyond the approval by FEMA, the various jurisdictions have to be put down in a way that the complement each other. Such an arrangement will ensure that there is no confusion during the response to a disaster. The response teams will have developed an inter-jurisdictional collaboration systems that immediately swing into operation during a disaster. Plans that include more than one jurisdiction are usually tied to natural disasters like earthquakes. This was recently put into action when creating the City’s Sound Shake in the year 2008 to test and predict the strength of an earthquake. 

The mitigation of hazards goes beyond creating response and relief delivery teams to improving the safety standards in other institutions as well. The schools in Seattle have done the most in improving their safety standards. The buildings have been renovated to a standard that can survive the current seismic levels. This means that in case of an earthquake. The buildings in these schools may be shaken but they cannot cave in on students unless the seismic levels of the earthquake exceed the expected and estimated levels. At this point, the response teams will have to save lives when the mitigation fails. The housing authority has also taken up the responsibility of renovating the shelters for the homeless people. Seattle has taken up the issue of mitigating earthquakes seriously and the seismic building code is being implemented. There is a group of people who work together to respond to earthquake incidents, the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW). This is a perfect example of multi-jurisdiction planning. These people can easily come together to save lives because they already have an organization in place. The coalition has taken up the responsibility of advising the decision makers on the possible ways for mitigating earthquakes. The members of this coalition have a common goal, to help people recover from earthquakes easily. The businesses that are destroyed by the disaster can get assistance to restock and prevent the recurrence of such a destruction in the event that an earthquake occurs again. The model of organization that this coalition uses is crucial to the survival of the people in Seattle. 

The purpose of any mitigation plan is to prevent the citizens of a certain region from experiencing the full impact of a disaster. It is difficult to estimate how much impact disasters like terrorism could cause to the people of the area. This means that when mitigating a disaster that is as mysterious as this, all the bodies work together to cover all possible scenarios. This is the only way that people can be saved from a terror attack in form of explosives or even biological weapons. It is necessary that the relevant authorities put in place disaster response teams even if mitigation measures have been laid down. It is necessary to prevent loss and deaths where possible (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2009). After the mitigation and development response teams, post disaster support systems are crucial. These include counselling services and temporary shelter facilities. In the case of an earthquake, people are left homeless and jobless. They need relief food, drugs and shelter before they can put their lives back on track. The counseling services should be offered to the people after a disaster to ensure that they can overcome the shock and have the positivity to start over again. In the case of terror attacks, the trauma is worse and the destruction is often scarring. This is because the victims live with the knowledge that another individual decided and planned on how to execute the attack.  It is for this reason that Seattle has to upgrade the all-hazard mitigation plan that is in use today to include the pot disaster management teams to help the victims to recover. Seattle has done well in implementing the hazard mitigation plans and ensuring that they are approved by the relevant authorities in the relevant jurisdictions.

References

Federal Emergency Management Agency. (2009). Seattle All-Hazards Mitigation Plan. Seattle: Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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