Hazard Mitigation Plan

Teton County Emergency Management has drafted a new hazard mitigation plan. The 518-page document outlines the likelihood of various disasters striking Teton County and how various agencies would respond to each one. Emergency Management is looking to gather feedback on the draft and is accepting public comment until Feb. 14.

Teton County Emergency Management wants feedback from community members about its new natural hazard mitigation plan.

Emergency officials have been working on the new plan for nearly a year, and it’s now in the process of being finalized.

“This is a plan that has to be updated once every five years,” Rich Ochs, emergency management coordinator, said. “In order for Teton County and the Town of Jackson to qualify for hazard mitigation funds from FEMA, we have to have a current and approved plan on file.”

Hazard mitigation plans evolve as threats of natural disasters change. They help communities reduce or eliminate the risk of death, injury and property damage.

The 518-page plan covers how various government agencies would respond in the event of floods, avalanches, landslides, dam failures, wildfires, winter storms, earthquakes and more.

“Of all the plans that we maintain for emergencies and disasters, this mitigation plan ... if I am a member of the public and I only look at one plan, this is the one,” Ochs said.

The public comment period is open through Feb. 14, Ochs said, and Teton County Emergency Management encourages residents to examine the plan and provide feedback.

“The first half [of the plan] will be of interest [to the public] because it focuses on the hazards we can face,” Ochs said.

Ochs said the plan is a comprehensive look at what disasters Teton County could potentially face. It outlines the likelihood of each kind of incident happening and gives a historical perspective of when and where each such disaster has occurred in the county all the way back to the early 1900s.

It also can help guide new residents when they are making decisions about what insurance they should buy and how much.

“What’s the biggest thing to be concerned about?” Ochs said. “Most of the time it’s not the supervolcano.”

The plan is in the process of being finalized by the state of Wyoming and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This week’s public comment period is part of that finalization process.

Once it gets those stamps of approval, the Teton County Board of County Commissioners has the final sign off. The Teton Conservation District also gets to sign it.

To look at the plan and provide feedback, go to JHNewsAndGuide.com and click on the link in this story.

Contact Emily Mieure at 732-7066 or courts@jhnewsandguide.com.

Emily Mieure covers criminal justice and emergency news. She also leads the News&Guide’s investigative efforts. She has reported for WDRB TV in Louisville, Ky., WFIE TV in Evansville, Ind., and WEIU TV in Charleston, Ill.

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