Meetings are set for the next stage of Blaine, Hill and Phillips counties planning to mitigate damage from future disasters, with one set for the morning in Chinook and another in Havre Wednesday afternoon, following the first meeting Tuesday in Malta.
Blaine County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Haley Gustitis, who is administering a three-county grant helping pay for Blaine, Hill and Phillips counties updating their pre-disaster mitigation plans, said the counties have been holding monthly meetings to work on their five-year update for the plans. The public meetings this week will be discussing what has been found so far, and taking comments on the plans.
“We’re just working on putting the finishing touches on things and hoping we’ll be getting lots of turnout to the public meetings, ” she said.
The draft risk assessment and mitigation strategy for the update will be presented at the meetings.
Joe Parenteau, Hill County DES coordinator, said updating the plans is required to receive assistance during and after a disaster, and to apply for funds to prevent problems when a disaster occurs.
Hill County is looking for money to connect a generator that would be used to provide power at Havre High School during an emergency, including using the school as an emergency shelter if needed.
Gustitis said Blaine County is looking at similar applications, to provide power generators for the elementary school in Chinook and the high school in Harlem, as well as possibly helping to relocate some families who live in a flood area north of Harlem.
The top mitigation priorities identified in Hill County are wildfires; severe winter weather; flooding; dam failure; structure fires; transportation accidents; landslides; severe summer weather; hazardous material incidents; and communicable diseases.
In Blaine County, the top priorities identified are wildfires; hazardous material incidents; transportation accidents; flooding; dam failure; severe winter weather; severe summer weather; and structure fires.
The public meetings will be held:
• 11 a. m. to 2:30 p. m. Tuesday in the basement of the Phillips County Courthouse in Malta.
• 9 to 10:30 a. m. Wednesday in the Emergency Operations Center Room on the second floor of the Blaine County Courthouse, 420 Ohio St., Chinook.
• 1:30 to 3 p. m. Wednesday at the Hill County Electric Hospitality Room, 2121 U. S. Highway 2 Northwest, Havre.