City to hire consultant to plan for disasters, terrorist acts | NevadaAppeal.com
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City to hire consultant to plan for disasters, terrorist acts

Jill Lufrano

By September, Carson City may have a detailed plan that shows it what areas of the city are most susceptible to floods, earthquakes and other disasters and to learn how much damage residents could face, officials said Monday.

The city will use $40,500 in federal grant money to hire a California consulting firm for the Hazardous Mitigation Plan project, said Fire Chief Louis Buckley.

The plan will allow the city to seek federal or state emergency management money to help pay for projects to prevent flooding or minimize the risk of a major quake, for instance.

“Let’s say we had a storm drainage issue in Ash Canyon. When that floods, we get damage,” Buckley said. “We could say that is a hazard that would result in these kinds of negative outcomes and apply for a grant to develop a storm-drainage system in the canyon to handle the water (or take other steps).”

City supervisors are expected to decide whether to approve spending $40,500 in grants to Dimensions Unlimited of Rio Vista, Calif., for devising the plan. The city expects to match the funds with $13,500 in staff time and assistance and to form a steering committee for the plan.

Dimensions Unlimited is an emergency management consulting firm specializing in programs that prepare governments or organizations for mitigation, planning, preparedness, response and recovery.

The mitigation plan will be another tool for the emergency management team to use in the event of a catastrophe. Federal regulations require local governments to have a plan developed and adopted by 2004, in order to be eligible for funding, Buckley said.

The city has taken several steps to be better prepared for terrorist events or natural disasters since the federal government released funding after Sept. 11, 2001, Buckley said. Recently, the city received $1 million in Domestic Preparedness federal grants after the state Department of Emergency Management reclassified the city as a quasi-state agency.

In the next year, Carson City emergency responders will purchase several pieces of equipment, including an anthrax detector, a portable hospital facility, mobile command post, gas masks and other equipment for disasters such as terrorist attacks.

Regional emergency officials have recently installed specialized chemical warfare detection systems in state buildings and emergency response vehicles to detect biological or chemical gases.

“We’ve accomplished a substantial amount, obviously in conjunction with money being released by federal and state government to support local governments since 9-11,” Buckley said.

Contact Jill Lufrano at jlufrano@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.