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County working on update to hazard mitigation plan

Natural disasters can be expensive. Especially if you aren't ready for them. While there is no way to be 100 percent prepared for the unknown, Dakota County feels it can at least be well prepared.

The county is going through the process of updating its All Hazard Mitigation Plan. The plan lists the types of disasters that pose a risk of injury or death to residents, ranks disasters by severity and identifies ways to minimize those risks.

Emergency preparedness coordinator David Gish said the county first created the plan five years ago in compliance with a federal law that required it. The law requires it be updated every five years, so they are in the middle of that process now.

The county recently finished taking comments on the plan update. The next step will be to get Dakota County Board of Commissioner approval.

The county worked with the cities and townships within the county in addition to the state. It also asked for feedback from residents. The plan will eventually go on to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and then onto the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The updated plan describes the current natural and technological disasters that could affect Dakota County and identifies actions that could lessen risk to life and property.

Gish said during the process the look at issues such as municipal zoning and building codes, ponding requirements and education programs for emergency planning. An example is requiring hurricane clips so plywood doesn't fly off a roof during straight-line winds.

So why go through all the trouble? Gish said the plan is required to receive FEMA funds in the event of a major disaster. He said the plan is one of the first things FEMA would ask for upon arrival.

Gish said if he had his way they would update it more often.

"So much changes in such a short time," said Gish.

To view the plan visit the Dakota County website at

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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