March 22, 2016

State Updating Hazard Plan To Include Extreme Weather

FEMA is requiring states to update their hazard mitigation plans to include risks from severe weather. - Indiana Public Media

FEMA is requiring states to update their hazard mitigation plans to include risks from severe weather.

Indiana Public Media

FORT WAYNE -- The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is updating its Hazard Mitigation Plan to comply with a new policy from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, more commonly known as FEMA.

Indiana’s Hazard Mitigation Plan describes the natural disasters that affect the state and ways communities can lessen their impacts.

John Erickson, Indiana’s DHS office public information officer, says flooding is probably the biggest threat Hoosiers face, but there are other concerns.

“We have severe weather in the form of tornadoes, straight-line winds, hail, snow storms; we also look at earthquakes.”

The new section will focus in part on how future changes in the severity of storms could affect infrastructure.

“When we build a bridge, we expect it to be there for X number of years and be stable. Well, with more extreme weather conditions, that bridge might not be stable, it might have half that life or three quarters of that life.”

The change comes after FEMA’s Climate Change Adaptation Policy went into effect earlier this month. States are required to update their Hazard Mitigation Plans every five years. Indiana’s new plan is due in 2019.

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