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Hearing discusses natural disasters

The Butler County Emergency Planning commission held a public hearing Monday to discuss preparation for natural disasters and mitigation.

Luman said that the purpose of this meeting was to give the public a chance to express their opinions.

&uot;This is just to let people make any suggestions that they may have,&uot; said Luman.

One of the main topics the planning commission addressed was remaining eligible for disaster recovery funds after Nov. 1.

&uot;This is very important topic for us,&uot; said Coordinator Bob Luman. &uot;Without these funds if something goes wrong we don’t have the means to fix it. It is extremely important that we get a plan in place.&uot;

Luman said that when the Nov. 1 date has come and gone if there is not a plan the commission won’t come to a halt. Nov. 1 is just the target date that is set for a plan to be in place. The committee also discussed plans to identify emergency facilities.

&uot;This is something that we really need to look at,&uot; said Luman. &uot;We need to identify what we consider emergency facilities in case of a natural disaster.&uot;

Luman added that emergency facilities were not just needed for evacuation.

&uot;We need to have places to form temporary homes for important buildings around town,&uot; said Luman. &uot;What if the police department or courthouse retained damage? Where would we be then? We need to have vacant buildings downtown targeted in case something like this ever happens.&uot;

Planner Patrick Tritz was also on hand to aid in the planning process.

Tritz explained that there were two types of critical facilities for the city of Greenville.

&uot;First, there are buildings or locations vital to the response and recovery effort, such as police stations and fire stations and telephone exchanges,&uot; said Tritz. &uot;Then, there are buildings or locations that, if damaged, would create secondary disasters, such as hazardous materials facilities and nursing homes.&uot;

Tritz added that sewage and water treatment and storage facilities also fell under this category.

Luman and Tritz closed the meeting by setting goals for the county.

N Promote natural hazard mitigation as a means to decrease loss of life during a disaster occurrence.

N Promote natural hazard mitigation as a means to decrease property damage and economic loss during a disaster occurrence.

N Provide an ongoing support of the Butler County Emergency Management efforts to make Butler County less vulnerable to natural disasters.

N Improve coordination and communication between emergency response organizations and between emergency response organizations and highly vulnerable entities.

N Educate the general population about natural hazards and hazard mitigation options.

N Encourage sound development trends that reduce vulnerability to natural hazards.

Luman added that the city should also look into some form of warning system.

&uot;We really need some kind of siren or warning system,&uot; said Lumen. &uot;It would be a huge help to have at least some type of warning system. Right now, if people don’t have a weather scanner they are in the dark.&uot;

The emergency planning commission will hold it’s next official meeting Tues. April 20 at 2 p.m.

The meeting will be held at the Greenville YMCA.