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Local Hazard Mitigation Planning Updates Beginning

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Albany, NY- The County of Sullivan, in partnership with New York State’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (NYSDHSES) and the University at Albany’s Visualization and Informatics Laboratory (AVAIL), is currently updating their Multi-Jurisdictional Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. This update is part of a state pilot program, funded by FEMA and administered by NYSDHSES. It is tasked with testing web-based software and integrated planning approaches designed for local hazard mitigation planning across New York State. AVAIL, a software laboratory in UAlbany’s Geography and Planning Department, is working with Behan Planning and Design to lead Sullivan County through the pilot hazard mitigation planning effort.

As the severity and frequency of natural disasters increase, so does the devastation and exorbitant cost of recovery left in their wake. In recent years, national focus has taken a dramatic shift towards mitigation – sustained actions that reduce the loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. Sullivan County recognizes that the time to act is before disaster strikes. 

A hazard mitigation plan provides communities with an opportunity to work together to identify risk, evaluate vulnerabilities and develop strategies for risk reduction. Sullivan County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan must be updated and approved by FEMA in order for the County and participating jurisdictions to continue to be eligible for FEMA mitigation grant funds. The anticipated completion date for this work is January 2021.

Initial meetings with the Steering Committee and Core Planning Group kicked off in February 2020, and will continue with all participating jurisdictions and stakeholders through the remainder of the year. Later this year, upon completion of the draft plan, a 30-day public comment period will commence. At that time Sullivan County residents will have the opportunity to review and provide feedback to the updated plan before submission to NYSDHSES and FEMA at the end of the year.  Following successful submission and subsequent review, municipalities will be asked to formally adopt the Sullivan County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan to be eligible for funding. 

If you have expertise to offer to planning process, please reach out to the University at Albany’s AVAIL laboratory via email at: availabs@gmail.com

More information about the 2012 Sullivan County Hazard Mitigation Process may be found online at: http://sullivanny.us/Departments/PlanningEnvironmental/PlansandStudies/HazardMitigationPlan 

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About University at Albany’s AVAIL Laboratory: AVAIL is the premier data science engineering group within the State University of New York at Albany. AVAIL is on a mission to empower a new generation of students to assimilate computer science knowledge and subject-matter expertise in the fields of data science and analytics. In doing so, AVAIL is formulating innovative solutions for private business and government. For additional University at Albany’s AVAIL laboratory information, please email: Eric Krans, Program Director at ekrans@albany.edu