The Kaufman County Office of Emergency Management has received a letter of commendation from the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) for the completion of the County’s update of the Texas Multi Jurisdiction Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP), and for their commitment to mitigation and was recognized on Jan. 4, at the Kaufman County Commissioners’ Court meeting for this accomplishment.
“The process of updating the HMP is very detailed and involves months and months of planning and execution,” said Kaufman County Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Howie. “The process began in January of 2020 with a ‘kickoff’ meeting with a goal of having the HMP ready to submit by late June or early July, but then beginning in February, the unimaginable happened . . . COVID-19.”
At that time, the Office of Emergency Management ultimately became the “defacto” health department for the county, keeping up with closures, numbers of Covid cases, managing PPE, and many other things which put a hold on the planning efforts for the Hazard Mitigation Plan update until July of 2021.
“Our staff in the Office of Emergency Management and our jurisdictional representatives have worked very hard to finish the updates on our Hazard Mitigation Plan and get them submitted,” said County Judge Hal Richards. “It is extremely important to have this plan in place for the safety and preparedness of our county should we face any type of hazardous threat.”
Community involvement is a key element in the mitigation planning process. A county encouraging and promoting discussion among community members about creating a safer, more disaster-resilient community leads to a sustainable mitigation plan. As a part of having a sustainable disaster mitigation plan, the Kaufman County Office of Emergency Management held a Zoom meeting covering that very topic on Oct. 6, 2021.
“All of these efforts paid off when on Dec. 16, 2021, we received notice from FEMA that our Plan had been approved pending adoption,” Howie said. “What that means is that FEMA has approved our plan but for it to be in full force and effect it must now be Adopted by Resolution by each participating jurisdiction.”
The Kaufman County Commissioners’ Court presented a resolution accepting the updated HMP at their regular meeting that was held on Jan. 4, meaning Kaufman County will be the first of all jurisdictions to complete the process.