Willow Park is one step closer to implementing a Hazard Mitigation Plan and Fire Chief Mike LeNoir presented information about the benefits of having the program at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.
Hazard mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessing the impact of disasters, according to the FEMA website. A FEMA-approved plan is a condition for receiving certain types of non-emergency disaster assistance, including funding for mitigation projects.
“We kicked this off in November 2018 and it’s continued all the way up to our mitigation workshop [this month]. We’re going to review and adopt the plan as soon as we can and we will be presenting it back to [the city council] and getting it approved,” LeNoir said. “I tried to get this setup for the storm sirens — that’s what started the entire program. We didn’t have the Hazard Mitigation Plan in place, so I wasn’t able to get funding for that. So this gets the ball rolling on getting this plan.”
LeNoir and WP firefighter Jared Junker presented information about the purchase of storm sirens for the city at last month’s regular city council meeting, but the motion was tabled.
The implementation of a Hazard Mitigation Plan will allow the city to receive grant funds from a variety of programs.
“There’s a cost-share requirement, FEMA provides 75 percent of the funding and the remaining 25 percent comes from a variety of sources,” LeNoir said. “Jared has been working really hard on taking care of this and this, luckily, has not costs us anything other than sweat hours. Willow Park has put in $4,663.43 in sweat equity.”
Junker said there are grants that would be available for communication equipment.
“There are specific grants where we can request certain types of radio communication equipment,” Junker said. “We would probably have to do that in conjunction with the county since they have the radio system, but there are definitely options we can explore.”
LeNoir shared hazards that affect Willow Park, ranked by risk from one to nine, and in order starting with No. 1 was tornadoes, thunderstorms — including hail, lightning and wind — flooding, wildfires, winter storms, extreme heat, drought, expansive soils and earthquakes.
About earthquakes, LeNoir said, “I haven’t seen a big one on that yet, but we do have them — they’re small.”
A public hearing was held on the plan, but no residents spoke.
The Hazard Mitigation Plan will be presented for final adoption by the city council at a future meeting.