Local residents garnered more information on the development of the Outer Banks Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan at a lightly attended meeting in Buxton on Wednesday evening, June 5.
The meeting was held to provide information on the planning process, the identified hazards for the area, and to outline additional opportunities for public involvement. Though the crowd was small, it included members of the Hatteras Island Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), representatives from Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative and Dare County, and other individuals who play a local role in disaster preparation or recovery.
“I think having you all here is very helpful. You are the most vulnerable part of the country, and I hope you continue to help us look at what’s going on [with the plan], and continue to help us formulate our goals and objectives,” said Dare County Emergency Management Director, Drew Pearson.
The public meetings are part of the ongoing process by the county to update the Dare-Currituck County Hazard Mitigation Plan, which allows the counties to be eligible for FEMA disaster relief assistance. Updated every five years, (and last revised in 2015), the plan is a multiple-phase project that identifies natural hazards, develops strategies to reduce or eliminate the loss of life and property damage, and educate the community about these hazards and loss reduction strategies.
One component of the process is the solicitation of public input on the hazards that affect the Outer Banks, (and the appropriate responses to these hazards), which is what launched the public meetings, as well as an online survey requesting the community’s insight.
Roughly 600 completed surveys have been received so far, which is a strong response per the Plan’s organizers.
Wednesday’s meeting provided an overview of the 10 steps that are required in the process to update the plan, and also covered the identified hazards that could potentially impact the Outer Banks. For example, landslides or dam failures are not hazards that need to be considered or that require strategies in the plan, but more obvious hazards like coastal-related issues, drought, flooding, hurricanes and tropical storms, and wildfires are included.
Attendees asked questions about corresponding hazards that should be considered, such as mosquito-related diseases that stem from standing water after a storm, or transportation for Buxton and Frisco residents should a new inlet be formed, and residents were cut off from emergency ferry services.
The ensuing conversation was a give and take of information among residents and county officials about disaster prep and recovery, and though there were only 10 residents in attendance, Pearson noted it was the highest attended meeting of the three community meetings that were held in Buxton, Manteo and Kill Devil Hills. “This blew our previous attendance out of the water,” said Pearson, “and we’re proud of the residents who are concerned about the Outer Banks.”
The Dare-Currituck County Hazard Mitigation Draft Plan for 2019 is estimated to be completed in September, where it will then be available for public review.
In the meantime, Hatteras Island residents who were unable to attend the meeting can garner additional information that was shared on Wednesday night via the following online resources:
- For agendas, minutes, and presentation materials from past public and Hazard Mitigation Plan Committee Meetings, visit http://www.obx-hmp.com/Agendas_Minutes.html.
- To review draft documents once available, visit http://www.obx-hmp.com/draftDocuments.html.
- To take the public survey, if you have not already done so, visit http://www.obx-hmp.com/Survey.html. The survey takes five minutes to complete, and will be available until June 15.