Canadian County adopts new hazard mitigation plan

Designed to reduce loss of life, property before disaster occurs

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Mustang’s Jayce Yamasaki, 6, tries on a protective vest alongside Canadian County Emergency Management Director Andrew Skidmore during Yukon's annual "Touch A Truck" Friday Fun Days' event at Chisholm Trail Park. Skidmore recently finalized Canadian County's new hazard mitigation plan. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

EL RENO – Canadian County’s hazard mitigation plan – designed to reduce loss of life and property before a disaster occurred – has been updated.

Canadian County Emergency Management Director Andrew Skidmore on July 26 presented the plan to Canadian County Commissioners. Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to adopt the new document.

Canadian County Emergency Management Director Andrew Skidmore

“It was a year in planning and another year in writing this plan,” Skidmore explained. “When I started (as emergency management director) in September 2018, we were already a year out of compliance.

“We are now caught up. This plan is good for five years – 2021 through 2026. It has already been approved by the state’s hazard mitigation officer and by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Region 6 in Denton, Texas.”

The Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires Canadian County to update this plan every five years so its communities remain eligible for non-emergency, federal hazard mitigation grants.

Hazard mitigation plans “are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction and repeated damage,” according to FEMA officials.

Canadian County’s hazard mitigation plan reduces the potential loss from natural hazards, Skidmore explained.

“Mitigation is not how we respond to emergencies like floods, tornadoes and wildfires, but rather how we as a community might lessen or even prevent the impact of such incidents before they occur,” he said.

With guidance from a consulting firm, Canadian County Emergency Management and local jurisdictions joined forces to review and update the county’s multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation plan.

As part of the process, Skidmore in 2020 solicited feedback from local municipalities and school districts.

“It has taken awhile, but it is complete,” the emergency manager told county commissioners this week. “We are happy to have it behind us.”

Canadian County’s local jurisdictions, including the cities and schools, also must adopt resolutions to be eligible for the federal hazard mitigation funding.

Skidmore predicted those resolutions would be signed within 90 days.

Canadian County Commission Chairman Jack Stewart thanked the county’s emergency management director for “seeing it through.”

THIS AND THAT …

In other business at their weekly meeting July 26, Canadian County Commissioners approved:

  • Awarding three bids for soil stabilization products and solutions. District 1 Commissioner Marc Hader noted all three vendors provide “unique” materials to use on county roads.
  • A resolution vacating right-of-way on Brandley Road between 27th and Elm, south of Interstate 40. District 2 Commissioner Dave Anderson pointed out there was no opposition from property owners.
  • Fiscal year 2022 agreements between Canadian County and El Reno Public Schools to provide educational services for the Canadian County Juvenile Detention Center and Fort Reno Adolescent Center; and to serve as “lead education agency” at the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center.
  • FY22 agreements with 10 school districts for the CCCJC to provide educational services to students: Banner, Calumet, Darlington, El Reno, Maple, Minco, Mustang, Riverside, Union City, and Yukon.
  • An agreement between the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office and WBC Rental Center to rent a scissor lift for $578.

Chairman Stewart presented the weekly Canadian County Jail report showing 247 inmates in custody, with 195 prisoners housed at the detention center in El Reno and 52 in other counties.

The in-house population dropped by 11 inmates in one week, Stewart noted.

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