HAGERSTOWN, MD – In a strategic move to enhance community resilience and eligibility for U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mitigation funds, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners voted to adopt the 2023 Hazard Mitigation Plan. Sponsored by the Washington County Office of Emergency Management (WCOEM), this plan is a comprehensive update to its 2018 counterpart.
This multi-jurisdictional initiative encompasses Washington County, the City of Hagerstown, and the towns of Boonsboro, Clear Spring, Funkstown, Hancock, Keedysville, Sharpsburg, Smithsburg, and Williamsport. Developed in compliance with the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, this plan adheres to federal requirements outlined in 44 CFR Parts 201 and 206.
Through a collaborative effort, Washington County convened a steering committee, engaging municipalities, county officials, and other stakeholders. Public participation was fostered via an online survey and a town hall meeting, gauging community concerns and garnering insights into favored mitigation projects. Notably, the opioid epidemic, major transportation accidents, and cybersecurity emerged as key concerns.
With these inputs, the plan addresses various hazards, including the newly incorporated “dam failure,” responding to local dam presence and recent incidents. Public preferences highlight support for burying power lines, tree planting for erosion prevention, and installing generators in critical facilities.
This forward-thinking initiative, approved by municipalities, the county, and relevant authorities, aligns with Washington County’s commitment to proactive disaster preparedness. The comprehensive Hazard Mitigation Plan, shaped by community voices, reaffirms the county’s dedication to safeguarding its residents and fostering a resilient future.