Grayson County Works on a Disaster Plan - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Grayson County Works on a Disaster Plan

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Grayson County is another step closer to finalizing plans to prevent disaster damage in the area. Thursday, representatives of the 16 cities in the county held a meeting to go over the risks associated with the different natural disasters. Deeda Payton was at that meeting.

Since the flood of 2007, Grayson County has been working on a plan, a mitigation action plan, to protect the community, property and people from natural disasters.  And, the county has seen it's fair share of disasters from tornadoes to ice storms. But, Emergency Management Director, Sarah Somers, says it has never had a formal plan before, just a few preventative measures here and there. "We look at when our utility providers come in and trim our trees to make sure we don't have tree limbs over power lines that if there is an ice storm we can have power outages because the tree limb falls down that's a mitigation action."

The county is not eligible for certain federal assistance money until a mitigation plan is approved by FEMA. "For instance, when Texas had a presidential declaration for Hurricane Ike approximately $384 million was made available to jurisdictions in state of Texas to work on mitigation projects and we simply weren't eligible because this plan wasn't done and that's why we're in a big hurry to finish it."

Somers says it continues to be a detail-oriented and time-intensive task that requires the input of every community in the county which is why they had a public meeting to go over a recent survey of the risks posed with each disaster. "What kinds of hazards...ice storms, floods...all of those things that hit us and what is our actual capability right now, today without doing anything to respond to them."

Somers says they hope to have their plan approved by FEMA by early 2010.

Emergency management does need the public's help. If anyone has information about historical occurances of disasters dating all the way back to the 18-hundreds to call her at 903-813-4217 so they can add to their records.

Deeda Payton, KTEN News.