Kutztown University
 

Public Participation in Hazard Mitigation Planning

Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
   

Kutztown University - Facilities

 
 

KUTZTOWN UNIVERSITY DRU/hazard mitigation planning process

A disaster-resistant university (DRU) hazard mitigation plan is a plan that identifies actions a community can take to reduce or eliminate the loss of life and property damage that results from natural and human-caused hazards.  It is a component of comprehensive planning that can help create a safe and sustainable community. 

Although the plan is being developed by the University, participation in this plan is still required by groups within each university and surrounding community under the provisions of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000.

Regulatory Requirements

  • ·Per 44 CFR §201.6(b), the planning process shall include:
    • An opportunity for public comment on the plan during drafting stage and prior to plan approval…

    • Input includes neighboring communities, local and regional agencies involved in hazard mitigation activities, and agencies having authority to regulate development including businesses, academia and other private and non-profit interests….”

  •  Per §201.6(c)(1), the plan must document “the planning process used to develop the plan, including how it was prepared, who was involved in the process, and how the public was involved.”

                                                                  Implementation

Kutztown University has begun the planning process by forming a Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee (HMPC), which includes representatives from the following offices/departments:

  • EHS Director,

  • Public Safety and Police Services,

  • Facilities Management and Construction,

  • University Relations, and

  • University Senior Administrative Officials.

The Committee has obtained official recognition from the President and will periodically communicate the status of the planning process, as well as involve some of the following stakeholders:

  • Students,

  • Faculty,

  • Staff,

  • County emergency management agency,

  • County or township/borough planning agency,

  • Neighboring community, and

  • Other interested parties.

This communication process will utilize the following formats:

  • Postings on University web site;

  • Presentations to other campus committees;

  • Public meetings at the University;

  • Press releases to the media; or

  • Mailings (e.g., newsletters or other informational packages).

Whatever steps are taken in the communication process, they will be documented (along with any stakeholder comments) in the DRU Hazard Mitigation Plan.  On all public correspondence, the Committee chairperson will be identified as the contact for more information regarding this process.

                                                                  URS action items

URS has taken the following actions to help the university to begin this planning process:

  • Prepare and issue initial press release to local newspaper, keep records of publication;

  • Develop simplified presentation on DRU Hazard Mitigation Plan (for use by University);

  • Prepare a hazard vulnerability questionnaire (for issue by University;

  • Develop content for the University website; and

  • Prepare letters to parties in surrounding community (for issue by University).

UNIVERSITY ACTION ITEMS

The University has already taken or will include the following actions during the planning process:

  • Issue invitation to university staff to join the Committee, if not done already;

  • Post information on this project on their website and through the campus newsletter;

  • Issue hazard vulnerability questionnaire (e.g., by email) to stakeholders;

  • Notify the surrounding community regarding this project (e.g., by posting a news release in the local newspaper);

  • Maintain records of public participation efforts; and

  • Invite stakeholders from outside the University, such as borough/township officials, the County EMA, or PEMA to meetings of HMPC.