BOSTON, Mass. -- Carrye Burley Brown, Administrator of the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), joined Salem Town Officials, New Hampshire Office of Emergency Management staff and FEMA Regional Director Jeffrey A. Bean at the signing of the Project Impact: Building a Disaster Resistant Community agreement in Salem, New Hampshire recently.
The Town of Salem, its community groups and representatives from its private businesses, in partnership with the State of New Hampshire and FEMA, has pledged to take actions and adopt measures that will lead to the development of Salem as a Project Impact community. Together, these participants will work to set priorities and take actions that will help their community reduce the effects of natural disasters.
Salem has a diverse business community ranging from manufacturing and design to food preparation. Over 14,000 jobs are provided by business and industry in Salem alone, with another 888 jobs provided by state and local government. Its thriving retail community and its unique blend of cultural and recreational activities complement Salem's strong industrial base.
The Town of Salem's Project Impact initiative will focus on:
1. Developing a comprehensive, all-hazard educational program for town residents and employees.
2. Creating site specific measures to minimize flood damage and preserve natural functions of the floodplains.
3. Foster partnerships in the public and private sector to educate the community and its residents on disaster preparedness, mitigation and response and recovery.
The Town of Salem, called the "Gateway to New Hampshire" is located just over the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border. Salem, in Rockingham County, is exposed to natural hazards from ice storms, riverine flooding, wildfires, high winds associated with hurricanes, river ice jams, and tropical storms. Salem residents have suffered extensive damage caused by flooding along the Spicket River Watershed and have already taken positive steps to reduce the damage.
Salem has many of the ingredients already in place to become an outstanding Project Impact community. The town demonstrated a commitment to reducing the risks and costs of natural and man-made disasters through the lead role it has taken in forging a basin-wide, interstate partnership to mitigate the effects of flooding in the Spicket River Watershed. The town has implemented several loss reduction projects through FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
Project Impact was launched by FEMA in October, 1997 to urge citizens, government officials and the business community to take actions to make their communities more disaster- resistant. The Town of Salem is one of 24 New England communities and nearly 200 others nationwide that have joined on as Project Impact partners. FEMA is changing the way it deals with disasters; continuing its focus on response and recovery, while placing emphasis on disaster damage-prevention.