Local Governments in Thurston County Invite Public to Online Open House and Survey for Proposed Actions to Make Communities Safer from Natural Disasters
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Extreme summer temperatures and wildfires are dominating news headlines in cities across North America. An estimated three million American adults were displaced from their homes by weather-related disasters in 2022. Thurston County communities are not immune to nature’s calamity. In fact, there have been 24 federal disaster declarations for Thurston County since 1965. To counter future disasters, the county, cities, and several special purpose local governments have identified over 100 actions to help reduce impacts from natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods, severe weather, and wildfires. Actions include developing an Extreme Heat Incident Response and Illness Prevention Plan, developing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, identifying evacuation routes for potential catastrophic dam failure and volcanic lahar, relocating and elevating structures in flood hazard areas, performing seismic upgrades to water storage reservoirs, adding backup power systems to critical facilities, and performing more public education about the effects of hazards and steps that people could take to protect their loved ones and property. The actions are proposed as part of the update to the “Hazards Mitigation Plan for the Thurston Region.”
Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) is leading the planning process and is seeking public feedback on the proposed actions. Paul Brewster, Senior Planner, is managing the project, “The plan is a long-term multi-jurisdictional investment strategy. It will guide decisions about projects that can protect lives, improve public safety, and strengthen important infrastructure like bridges, water systems, and communications. Prioritizing our ability to withstand natural hazards and adapt to climate change is foundational to making our communities safe, healthy, and affordable places to live, work, and thrive in.”
Ed Taylor who is the City of Lacey Emergency Manager and Chair of the Thurston County Emergency Management Council will be one of several community staff representatives hosting a table at the Thurston County Fair through July 30. “We want to increase peoples’ awareness about emergency preparedness, inform them about hazards that threaten our communities, and ask for their feedback to help shape projects, programs, and services that can protect our communities’ assets. We will have preparedness checklists, free bottled water, stickers, and a few other items.”
Community members and interested parties are invited to visit an online open house to learn about natural hazards, the plans’ actions, and take surveys. TRPC is hosting the self-paced open house and surveys through August 25 at www.trpc.org/hazards.
The plan is being updated through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Local governments are required to update their hazard mitigation plans every five years to remain current and maintain eligibility for grants to fund important projects. For further information, contact Paul Brewster, Senior Planner, Thurston Regional Planning Council, (360) 741-2526.