Cook County Board Approves Largest Hazard Mitigation Plan in the U.S.

Plan makes county eligible for FEMA hazard mitigation grant funds.

The Cook County Board approved the largest Multi-Jurisdictional All Hazards Mitigation Plan (HMP) ever completed in the United States at today’s county board meeting. Cook County’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) spearheaded the HMP planning process.

The HMP, which has conditionally received approval from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), pending the adoption today means Cook County is now eligible to receive funds through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

A total of 115 planning partners were involved in the effort, including 113 of Cook County’s 134 municipalities. Those jurisdictions must now officially approve the plan as well.

Under the leadership of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the DHSEM worked diligently with area municipalities and other partnering agencies to formulate an HMP to address natural hazards that the county frequently experiences, like flooding, extreme cold temperatures, snow and heavy storms, which endanger lives, and damage and destroy property.

During the HMP process, jurisdictions throughout Cook County identified mitigation projects they would like to undertake in order to minimize the impact of natural hazards. Participating communities, upon adoption of the plan by their governing bodies will now be able to apply for HMGP funds to help finance those projects that reduce the county’s vulnerability to natural hazards while protecting the health, safety, welfare and economy of communities by identifying cost-effective strategies to reduce their impact.

“The ability to access these grant funds will allow our community to undertake critical mitigation projects, ensuring the safety and security of our residents,” Preckwinkle said.

“We are proud to have undertaken and completed the HMP process,” said Michael Masters, executive director of DHSEM. “I credit the strong partnerships we built within both the public and private sector to the success of this plan.”

For more information about the Hazard Mitigation Plan, visit www.cookcountyhomelandsecurity.org/hazard-mitigation-plan/.

The Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management integrates first responders, their departments and resources from 134 Cook County municipalities, and serves as the central agency in Cook County for coordinating efforts to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to and recover from all incidents, whether manmade or natural. For more information, visit our website at www.cookcountyhomelandsecurity.org.