Natural disaster prevention plan to be updated

FEMA granted $48,750, which will be used to hire consultant services

Flood+water+and+soap+pool+on+the+sidewalk+outside+of+Lily+Bee%E2%80%99s+Consignment+Shop+during+a++flood+on+Sept.+10+in+downtown+Pullman.+The+flood+also+affected+other+businesses+including+Thomas+Hammer+Coffee+Roasters.
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Natural disaster prevention plan to be updated

Flood water and soap pool on the sidewalk outside of Lily Bee’s Consignment Shop during a  flood on Sept. 10 in downtown Pullman. The flood also affected other businesses including Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters.

Flood water and soap pool on the sidewalk outside of Lily Bee’s Consignment Shop during a flood on Sept. 10 in downtown Pullman. The flood also affected other businesses including Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters.

OLIVER MCKENNA

Flood water and soap pool on the sidewalk outside of Lily Bee’s Consignment Shop during a flood on Sept. 10 in downtown Pullman. The flood also affected other businesses including Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters.

OLIVER MCKENNA

OLIVER MCKENNA

Flood water and soap pool on the sidewalk outside of Lily Bee’s Consignment Shop during a flood on Sept. 10 in downtown Pullman. The flood also affected other businesses including Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters.

LUKE HUDSON, Evergreen reporter

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Whitman County is updating its process for preventing damage caused by natural disasters.

Bill Tensfeld, director of the Whitman County Department of Emergency Management, said the department will collect feedback from communities.

This will begin with a kickoff meeting on Oct. 2 and future meeting times and dates will be posted on the county website.

Local citizens can contribute by sharing knowledge about what areas may be vulnerable to hazards based on previous disasters, according to a news release from the Whitman County Emergency Management Department.

Feedback will be collected at the meetings and through online information, questionnaires and maps, according to the release.

Tensfeld said the county received a $48,750 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will be used to pay for a consultant to help update the plan. The same consultant worked on the plan in 2013.

“[The plan] has little to do with response,” he said. “But really it’s planning measures to mitigate events before they happen.”

He said the update will probably not make significant changes to the 2013 plan and that this update is just part of the routine.

Tensfeld said he estimates the process to be completed in eight to 12 months.

Updating this plan is part of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, which mandates that states and counties establish disaster prevention plans in order to qualify for FEMA funding, according to the FEMA website.

Several businesses in downtown Pullman were affected by flooding last week including Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters.

Shelby Sater, manager at Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters, said she thinks there should be more done to reduce damage to buildings commonly affected by natural disasters.

“Our building is in such a bad area it is inevitable for something like [flooding] to happen,” Sater said.

She said there is not really much more that could be done to reduce flooding risk downtown but she hopes Pullman continues to maintain storm drains so clogging is not as severe.

Tensfeld said the 2013 plan will be posted to the county website on Tuesday for anyone to review.

Any questions or comments regarding this process should be directed to Tensfeld and Robin Cocking, deputy director of the Whitman County Department of Emergency Management.  Their contact information can be found on the county website.