The Cook County Board of Commissioners approved the County’s Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) update this week. Under the leadership of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the County’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) spearheaded the revision to the 2014 plan which remains the largest of its kind in the United States.
The HMP update, which has already received approval from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), means Cook County remains eligible to receive funds through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).
A total of 121 of Cook County’s 135 municipalities partnered with DHSEM. Those jurisdictions must now officially approve the plan update as well.
DHSEM worked closely with municipalities and other partnering agencies to address natural hazards that endanger lives and damage and destroy property, including flooding, extreme cold and heat, snow and other severe weather events.
“The safety and security of Cook County residents is a critical priority,” President Preckwinkle said. “This plan is key to helping us identify and mitigate natural hazards which can devastate our residents and many times disproportionately affect our traditionally underserved communities.”
“This comprehensive update of the largest hazard mitigation plan in the country is a major step forward in our ongoing efforts to mitigate natural hazards in Cook County and the region,” said William Barnes, executive director of DHSEM. “We look forward to continued collaboration with our partners to ensure the safety of our residents and the security of critical infrastructure.”
As part of the HMP update process, DHSEM held seven public hazard mitigation meetings throughout the County this summer. Additionally, more than 6,000 Cook County residents participated in a survey to identify the natural hazards that concerned them most as well as services they may need during an emergency.
DHSEM also formed an HMP steering committee made up of leaders in both the public and private sectors to assist with the planning process.
The HMP update participants identifies 367 new mitigation projects. Updates to the HMP are required by FEMA every five years. The County adopted its first HMP in 2014. To see the plan update and learn more about the HMP process, visit www.cookcountyhomelandsecurity.org.