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The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, also known as DMA 2000 was signed into law on October 30, 2000 by the President. This established a requirement that to remain eligible for federal funds, local and state governments must develop and adopt an approved hazard mitigation plan. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published an Interim Final Rule (IFR) on February 26, 2002. This set the guidance and regulations under which such plans are to be developed. It includes the planning process as well as the contents of the plan that are required.

Hazard mitigation is often defined as actions taken to reduce the effects of natural hazards on a place and its population. This plan focuses on the countywide hazards with the highest potential for damaging physical assets, people and operations in Florence County. Both the risk assessment and mitigation action plan sections reflect this emphasis, which was the result of careful consideration and a ranking process carried out by the Florence County Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee (FCHMPC). This committee was formed and staffed by the Florence County Emergency Management Department and the Florence County Planning Department. The committee was charged with developing a county component for the plan. Neighboring communities, agencies involved in hazard mitigation and businesses, academia, and other relevant private and non-profit interests were also involved in the planning process. All towns and cities as well as representatives from law enforcement, emergency services, business and industry and others with interest in hazard mitigation planning were invited to participate in the development of the respective county components of the plan.

The FCHMPC reviewed existing plans, studies, reports and technical information. Documents reviewed included comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, building codes, historical hazard event records, and emergency operations plans. Recommendations in these documents relative to hazard mitigation issues were addressed in the hazard vulnerability analysis and hazard mitigation initiatives prepared for inclusion in this plan. Additionally, public meetings were scheduled to provide an opportunity for the general public and local government officials to have input. This was accomplished by public meetings conducted in Florence County. The meetings were coordinated by the Florence County Emergency Management Department and the Florence County Planning Department in cooperation with administrative officials from each participating municipality. The public was invited to the meetings through news releases and notices posted at municipal and county offices.

Florence County Emergency Management and Florence County Planning assisted the county planning committee in conducting detailed studies to identify the hazards threatening the jurisdictions of Florence County and to estimate the relative risks posed to the community by those hazards. This information has been used by the committee to prioritize their planning efforts to assess the vulnerabilities of the facilities and neighborhoods of Florence County to the
impacts of future disasters involving those hazards. With these vulnerabilities identified, the committee worked to identify, justify and prioritize specific proposals for projects and programs that will avoid or minimize these vulnerabilities. This document includes a detailed characterization of hazards in Florence County; a risk assessment that describes potential losses to physical assets, people, and operations; a set of goals, objectives, strategies, and initiatives that will guide Florence County mitigation activities; and a detailed plan for implementing and monitoring the plan.

These proposed projects and programs to reduce the impacts of future disasters are called “mitigation initiatives” in this document. Mitigation initiatives have been developed, and will continue to be developed, by the county planning committee for implementation whenever the resources and opportunities to do so become available. Implementation of this plan is essentially through implementation of the mitigation initiatives included in the plan, and with each implementation effort, the county planning committee will continue to help make the participating communities more resistant to the human and economic costs of future disasters.
This document details the work of the Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee over the past several months to develop the planning organization, to undertake the needed technical analyses, and to coordinate the mitigation initiatives that have been proposed by the participating jurisdictions and organizations. The draft plan will be submitted to all participating jurisdictions for adoption by the respective governing bodies.

The Florence County Hazard Mitigation Plan has been established to make the population, neighborhoods, businesses and institutions of the community more resistant to the impacts of future disasters. The county planning committee and staff have been undertaking a comprehensive, detailed evaluation of the vulnerabilities of the towns, cities and unincorporated areas throughout the county to all types of future natural hazards in order to identify ways to make the communities of the planning area more resistant to their impacts. This document reports the results of that planning process for the current planning period.