WARWICK, R.I. -- Warwick, RI has joined the disaster-resistant efforts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Project Impact, a national effort to change the way America deals with disasters. This effort shifts the focus of emergency management from responding to disasters to taking actions in advance of disasters that reduce potential damage.
"I am pleased to welcome the City of Warwick into the network of Project Impact communities and commend the leadership of the city for their efforts in flood management and building code enforcement," said FEMA Director James Lee Witt. "Coastal communities such as Warwick have suffered their fair share of damage from natural disasters, and the pro-active efforts of Warwick to reduce damage serve as a great model for communities across Rhode Island--and across the country."
Warwick and representatives from its private businesses, in partnership with the State of Rhode Island and FEMA, have pledged to take actions and adopt measures that will lead to the development of Warwick as a Project Impact disaster-resistant community. Together, these participants will work to set priorities and take action to ensure that Warwick lessens the effects of natural disasters.
Warwick's Project Impact initiative will focus on:
- Developing a comprehensive, all-hazard educational program for city residents and employees;
- Creating site specific measures to minimize flood damage and preserve natural functions of the floodplains; and
- Implementing a recovery plan for the City of Warwick that identifies reconstruction policies and programs and operational recovery strategies for the implementation of hazard-reduction elements.
Warwick, located on Narrangansett Bay, is exposed to hazards from erosion, coastal flooding, and high winds associated with hurricanes, nor'easters, and tropical coastal storms. Warwick has suffered extensive damage caused by flooding along the Pawtucket River and has already taken positive steps to reduce the damage caused by such flooding.
Warwick has many of the ingredients already in place to become an outstanding Project Impact community. In 1988, the city adopted a new zoning ordinance to implement the recommendations of the land use plan. The ordinance established a new open space zone to protect existing publicly owned open space and recreational areas.
The city has also recently become active in disaster damage-reduction activities. Warwick has established a local hazard mitigation partnership that is working in cooperation with the University of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency to develop a local all-hazards preparedness plan. Serving on this hazard-mitigation council are the harbormaster, police and fire officials, as well as hospital, insurance, and Home Depot representatives.
Project Impact is a national initiative launched by FEMA in October 1997 to involve citizens, government officials and the business community in actions to make their communities more disaster-resistant. The City of Warwick is one of six New England communities and 51 others across America designated in Project Impact. FEMA is changing the way it deals with disasters; continuing its focus on response and recovery, while placing emphasis on disaster damage-prevention.