All Hazards Planning All At Once: 2017
Grundy county, Iowa
Those who came to Grundy County in the nineteenth century soon learned that hazards could follow one after another or even exist simultaneously. Spring or summer freshets might inundate bottomlands; autumn prairie fires could eliminate all stored hay and anything else in their path. Far from any large body of water that might temper the effects of summer heat or winter cold, the county could experience both in extremes and the county’s residents—new or old– could find both punishing. The abundance that seemed possible in summer could have been destroyed before winter, leaving residents with little fuel or food.
Though the plowing of the prairies left little to ignite the spectacular prairie fires of past centuries, other hazards remain and some, like flooding and run-off from unbuffered fields, can be more problematic than they were in the past. Anyone watching the floods rewind and repeat in Iowa in recent decades has learned the word “mitigation” if she or he didn’t know it before. Mitigation is action taken before a hazard event to reduce or eliminate significant risk to life and property. The goal of mitigation is to decrease the need for a response during and after a hazard event. If mitigation efforts are working, then, in the midst of an event like a flood, the need for a response is less.
In 2017 the Grundy County Board of Supervisors joined with leaders of several county municipalities (Beaman, Conrad, Dike, Grundy Center, Holland, Morrison, Reinbeck, Stout, Wellsburg) and the Grundy Center Community School District to produce an Updated Multi-jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan for the county. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved the plan through 2022. The idea is to get a lot of different cities and towns and their resources on the same page, sharing what they have and planning for coordinated efforts during what they call hazard events.
The plan may not be as engaging to read as a story, but the tragic stories it could prevent may be the best tales of all.
Source: on-line: “2017 Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan for Grundy County, Iowa”