05 August 2008

Huff and Puff, We're Ready, Kind Of

If I remember the story correctly, the Third Little Pig didn't really have a plan. He saw what happened to Pig Number One and Pig Number Two, and went with the bricks. With the Wolf on his way, there was no time for risk assessment or analysis - and certainly no time to read a 1129 page hazard mitigation plan!

Somerset County, on the other hand, can not afford to rely on intuition alone. That's why they have prepared the Somerset County Multi-Jurisdictional Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan. The key word in this plan is "mitigation". It is understood that there is no way to prevent the various natural disasters and calamities outlined in the report - floods, high winds, snowstorms, drought, excessive heat, and forest fires - but with careful planning, we may be able to prevent or reduce some of the inevitable damage, especially damage to houses and other buildings.

Unfortunately, although the report is detailed - and at 1129 pages it ought to be - and provides a wealth of information about Hillsborough Township and the rest of Somerset County, it tends to fall short on real, practical, innovative ideas.

Most of the recommendations fall under the heading of "I could have told you that". According to the plan, we need to identify areas of the county subject to natural disaster - flooding, primarily - identify disaster relief resources, identify emergency shelters and evacuation plans, etc. In fact, all of these things ARE identified in the report.

The rest of the recommendations are of this variety - "buy up houses and buildings that are in flood-prone areas - Green Hills is specifically mentioned....eventually...some day...when you have the money." P.S. We'll never have the money.

If there is one thing the report does show, it's that we appear to be stuck in our straw and stick world, just waiting for another huff and puff!

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