Allen County EMA seeks input on action plan

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — To prepare for potential emergencies and natural disasters, the Allen County Emergency Management Agency is updating its hazard mitigation plan and looking for public feedback to understand where resources need to be concentrated.

Required to receive emergency grant funding down the line, the county’s Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan provides a list of numerous actions and recommendations to be undertaken in order to mitigate the harm from potential emergencies in the future.

For example, under the plan, emergency management officials may keep track of areas and populations most susceptible to emergencies for better coordination. Other options could include encouraging local jurisdictions to buy better emergency-related equipment or building certain infrastructure.

Either way, the large range of actions require that emergency management officials put processes in place prior to an emergency.

That’s where the plan comes in. The last one was created in 2016 and consisted of dozens of action items. Now, officials need to update the document.

Before the new plan can be drafted, organizers are looking for public input to better understand what the public considers to be in the county’s best interests.

“We open it up to the community to see what they would like to see included,” said Anna van der Zwaag, associate planner with Burton Planning Services.

The process to create the plan has already made some headway. Stakeholders from multiple jurisdictions throughout the county, such as representatives from towns and villages surrounding Lima, have already given some input on the plan. There has been some data gathered to see what natural disasters are applicable to the area.

Accordingly, survey respondents on average were most concerned with flooding, utility failures and pandemics. They were least concerned about earthquakes, wildfires and mine subsidence.

The remaining members of the public still have plenty of time to add their two cents to the discussion if desired. A survey, which can be found online at, asks respondents to weigh in on each action item the plan may include in the future, which provides planners with data on what to include in subsequent drafts.

As for the timeline, planners expect to create the official document in late fall and have it officially approved by January of 2021.

More general information on the hazard mitigation plan and the processes needed to draft it can be found at

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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