If a natural disaster happens, Monmouth County wants to make sure barriers are already in place.

The County will be holding a meeting on Tuesday for its Multi Jurisdictional Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan. The plan, which was last updated in 2009, evaluates the hazards which a community is susceptible to and plans appropriate methods for mitigation.

Michael Oppegaard, Coordinator for the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office with the Office of Emergency Management says the plan identifies the hazards that residents would be exposed to, and it tries to identify some of the mitigation actions to lessen the impact.

“In essence this plan would us identify some of the actions that we may take and apply for funding through the FEMA programs to acquire properties that are in this repetitive loss program if they’ve had multiple flood claims, properties that may want to be elevated because their yards flood, putting in larger storm drains, and things like that.”

Director Oppegaard says that for Monmouth County it means looking at natural disaster like hurricanes, flooding, and snowstorms; however there will be new topics added this year.

“We are looking at some new topics this round, such as the effects of climate change on the natural hazards we’re affected by.”

Once the planning process is complete the drafts are sent to the State Mitigation Unit for Approval by FEMA.

Oppegaard says all 53 of Monmouth County’s municipalities have a say in the plan.

“What happens is that under the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, every jurisdiction in the state is required to have a mitigation plan. So by us doing a multi jurisdictional plan, we better use the federal dollars that are given out to better build this plan.”

He notes public outreach is also a requirement of the plan, which they will advertise when it gets to that stage.