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Pinellas County’s Local Mitigation Strategy is a model for the state

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Pinellas County’s Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) was recently recognized by the Mitigation Planning Unit of the Florida Division of Emergency Management as a model for other jurisdictions. Every year, the Mitigation Planning Unit creates a comprehensive Local Mitigation Strategy Update Manual to assist local jurisdictions with the process of updating their plans. The unit is honoring Pinellas County’s LMS by citing it in the upcoming manual.

In a recent correspondence with the county, Alexander Falcone, Lead Mitigation Planner, Florida Division of Emergency Management, stated that “[Pinellas County’s] plan was among those in the top tier of the state.”

Pinellas County, its municipal partners and other stakeholders implemented the LMS in 1998, updating the plan annually. The purpose of a local mitigation strategy is to establish ongoing processes that make hazard mitigation part of the daily functioning of the entire community. Mitigation plans identify potential hazards and vulnerabilities, set goals and establish specific actions or remedies to reduce the risk of natural or manmade hazards to people, buildings, infrastructure and the environment.

Mitigation plans are also required by the federal government for municipalities to be eligible for federal hazard mitigation grants.

The county and its municipalities are now gearing up for the 2016 annual update. Residents and community stakeholders are invited to participate in the process by attending LMS planning meetings and providing comments on LMS projects, which are detailed in the 2015 annual update. Visit www.pinellaslms.org to review the plan or contact the Pinellas County Planning Department for meeting dates and information.

The county’s local mitigation strategy efforts underscore a component of the strategic plan, ensuring public health, safety and welfare by providing planning, coordination, prevention and protective services to ensure a safe and secure community.