The Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management has finished its draft update to the all-hazard mitigation plan.
OEM Manager Dan Nelson says the document has been refined to reflect more modern potential risks beyond the traditional, more natural risks we tend to think about like floods and fires.
“Now, emergency management has broadened into a little bit more of a homeland security perspective. So, as we’ve seen with the cyber attacks on the Mat-Su Borough and the city of Valdez, that’s something we’re starting to think about a little more. It’s starting to be put into these types of plans. In addition, although the probability is very low here, we look at things like mass demonstrations and civil distress as well, on a nationwide basis. The plan addresses that and, again, at a very broad perspective, but it’s something we’re starting to think about.”
The plan also goes into detail about the potential risks and their causes for all different and unique areas of the borough.
“An example of that might be the tsunami warnings we got back in January of this year. There were a lot of questions about do I live in a tsunami area, do I not? And this will help (people) see those maps, see where those actual risk factors. We use scientific documents to help us with that with the assistance of partners such as the Geophysical Institute and many others. It’s a good reference tool for the general public, for businesses, for others that might be doing research on the Kenai Peninsula and the geographic areas at risk.”
Nelson says they went through the last version of the plan line by line to make sure all the information was up to date, usable and approachable.
“And that’s what we’re doing with all of our plans as they hit their next update. We’re really looking at the content, making sure it’s still relevant, but if it’s just extraneous or copied from something else as tends to happen, we’re getting rid of it. We’re making these documents useful again.”
The 2019 All Hazard Mititgation Plan is currently in the review process with the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Nelson says that review will take another four to six weeks and then the borough assembly will consider its adoption.