East Hampton Village is working with Suffolk County to update its hazard mitigation plan, according to a press release issued by the Village Police on January 30.
Hazard mitigation, according to the Suffolk County website, is “any action taken to reduce the loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters,” and can apply to situations such as hurricanes and erosion. The plan’s update is necessary to continue receiving federal funds for projects like beach nourishment, the release said.
“The process is ongoing,” said East Hampton Village Police Captain Mike Tracey, who is working specifically on the emergency services portion of the plan. “If you’re not diligent in terms of safeguarding the community, that’s part of the problem. That’s why we constantly have to look at what we’re doing and reassess.”
One project the village is working on, Capt. Tracey said, is creating a resolution for traffic light outages. “It’s a relatively small project, but it’s something that hasn’t been done before, and it’s been an ongoing issue,” he said. “We’re basically wiring up the traffic signals at the ground level so they will take portable generators and we can power them ourselves.”
Traffic light outages can often be days long and require labor-intensive work, said Capt. Tracey, who also noted that the labor involved in these situations can be extremely expensive.
The original hazard mitigation plan, which was completed in 2008, has helped the village update emergency communications.
Capt. Tracey said that in the past, the village was able to replicate its dispatch capabilities in a mobile setting, creating a backup dispatch center in the event that something went wrong at the main dispatch center.
“You have to take the worst-case scenario, work backward from that, and say ‘What if?’” he said.
The plan, which is still in draft form, is available at the Suffolk County website. The site also invites the public to fill out a hazard mitigation survey to improve the draft and thus the final plan.
The status of the plan, according to the website, will be reviewed at the annual Mitigation Planning Committee meeting in September. A date and agenda will be released at least two weeks prior to the meeting.