2009 Marshall County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan
Community Involvement Documentation
This Appendix includes additional documentation of the extensive community involvement opportunities in the planning process for the Marshall County 2009 plan update, which are summarized as follows (see Section 4 Planning Process for a complete discussion of community involvement in the planning process):
1. The Marshall County Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee (HMPC). This Committee, which was first established in 2004 to oversee the original plan, was reorganized in August 2008 to prepare for the 2009 update. Its primary purposes are to oversee all hazard mitigation planning activities and ensure the plan's ongoing monitoring and implementation. The HMPC represents all Marshall County jurisdictions, as well as interested stakeholder organizations, and meets at least annually. Its five meetings during the drafting phase of the 2009 plan update were publicly announced and open to public attendance and participation. (For complete documentation of HMPC meetings, refer to Appendix G Committee Meeting Documentation, and for a more detailed discussion of the HMPC, refer to Section 4 Planning Process).
2. The 2009 Marshall County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan Web Site. This Web site - marshall.hazmitalabama.com - was active during the entire drafting phase of the 2009 update. Its purpose, as presented on the Web site, was "to encourage the public, government agencies, colleges and universities, neighboring jurisdictions, businesses and industries, and others concerned with hazard mitigation to become involved in the process of updating the 2009 Marshall County Hazard Mitigation Plan." This Web site maintained the most recent draft sections of the plan and encouraged public comments through a dedicated email account at firstname.lastname@example.org . The Web site provided background information to the public and interested agencies on mitigation planning and the Federal requirements. It also provide public information on the HMPC membership, meeting announcements, and contact information for the Marshall County EMA and the consulting team, including a toll-free hotline at 1-866-978-3633, for calling in comments and suggestions. The most recently adopted plan is maintained on the Marshall County EMA Web site at http://www.marshallcoema.org/ .
3. Media Relations. Complete coverage of the HMPC meetings and other activities were reported by local TV, radio, and news organizations, including news reports published by the Sand Mountain Reporter and the Gadsden Times. The Marshall County EMA kept local media apprised of all activities throughout the drafting stage.
4. Community Meetings. Community meetings, held in the Marshall County Courthouse, were conducted over a three week period during the drafting stages of this plan. The community meetings were ongoing public information meetings where various displays were erected throughout the County Commission chambers and along the hallways of the third floor of the Marshall County Courthouse. Each hazard that had been identified in the planning process was given a display area to show the different threats that exist and what could be done to help prevent or at least lessen the impact of that hazard. There were also documents and materials provided to educate the public on what to do in the case of such a hazard event occurring. Many of the materials were made available for the public to take with them. The Marshall County Information Technologies Department provided maps of critical facilities and areas in which hazards have occurred for the public to view. Many other departments participated by providing materials to educate the public. For example, the Cooperative Extension Office provided booklets on how to properly maintain your trees so that they are less of a danger in the event of a storm and the Forestry Department provided publications on how to prevent wildfires. All exhibits were on display for five weeks to provide maximum exposure to the public.
5. Public Outreach Survey. A survey was widely circulated to inform the public of the plan update and provide an additional vehicle to report public concerns and recommendations to be addressed in the drafting stage. The Marshall County EMA distributed the survey to all the Marshall County employees and made it available during the community meetings, alongside the exhibit displays. Access to an electronic copy of the survey was also made available on their Web site at http://www.marshallcoema.org. The survey asked the participants to rate the possibility and extent (severity) to their community on a list of identified hazards, according to the following scale:
1 = minimal possibility/extent 4 = high possibility/extent
2 = slight possibility/extent 5 = very high possibility/extent
3 = moderate possibility/extent
Respondents could express any specific concerns for any of the hazards and make recommendations on how to mitigate one or more of the hazards. All tabulated responses are maintained in the offices of the Marshall County EMA. An blank public survey form is included in this Appendix.
6. Interagency Involvement. Invitations were delivered to agencies and organizations representing neighboring counties, Federal and State governmental agencies, businesses, educational institutions and school boards, and other interested private and non-profit stakeholders in the hazard mitigation planning process. A survey form to report written comments on the plan accompanied each invitation. A copy of the invitation and survey are included in this Appendix.
7. Participation by Educational Institutions. The school boards for Marshall County, Albertville, Arab, Boaz and Guntersville and the administration of Snead State Community College actively participated in the planning process and adopted the final plan.
8. Public Hearings Prior to Adoption. A final opportunity for public comment was afforded immediately before adoption by each local governing body. A joint public hearing of all jurisdictions was held in the Commission Chambers at the Marshall County Courthouse, as required by Alabama public hearing and notice laws. Following this hearing, the plan was adopted by the governing bodies of each jurisdiction.
9. Marshall County EMA Community Relations. The Director and staff of the Marshall County EMA has a longstanding record of strong and effective community relations, which further facilitated community interest and involvement in the 2009 plan update.
This Appendix includes the following documentation of community involvement activities and opportunities:
Announcement courtesy of the Gadsden Times
Special to The Times
Published: Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 9:35 p.m.
GUNTERSVILLE - The public is invited to participate in updating the mitigation plan for Marshall County. A meeting is at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the county commission chambers on the third floor of the courthouse. The mitigation plan covers rural Marshall County as well as all cities and towns. Mitigation is any action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to life and property from a hazard event, such as a tornado, severe storm, ice storm, drought or wildfire, among others. Anita McBurnett, director of the Marshall County Emergency County Agency, said the plan will be expanded to cover not only "natural disasters/ events," but also "man-made/ technological disasters/events" such as hazardous materials release and airplane crashes. Mitigation, also known as prevention, encourages long-term reduction of a community's vulnerability to natural and technological occurrences. The goal of mitigation is to save lives and reduce property damage while being cost-effective and environmentally sound. McBurnett said mitigation activities can protect critical community facilities, reduce exposure to liability and minimize community disruption. Examples include flood plain regulations, storm shelters, warning sirens and community education. The federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires each community to establish a pre-disaster hazard mitigation program and adopt a natural hazards mitigation plan as a condition for continuing eligibility for FEMA Grant and Public Assistance Funds. The 2004 mitigation plan may be viewed at marshall.hazmitalabama.com.
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