ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. -- The one sure thing about every disaster is that it won't be the last. Vermont, in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is committed to the concept that lives can be saved and damage reduced in future disasters through planning and education.
To that end engineers, government officials from all levels, planners, academics, and others involved in disaster recovery will meet at the University of Vermont in Burlington Jan. 13 to produce the Vermont Resource Guide for Building Disaster Resistant Communities: 2000 Edition.
Termed the Vermont Community Mitigation Workshop, the gathering will make recommendations to be formally forwarded to FEMA's regional and national offices, Vermont Emergency Management, and the Governor of Vermont for incorporation in the next round of budgets and policy and program development. The aim is to develop an ongoing program that will review resources regularly and be a valuable aid long after the workshop closes.
"We want to be clear that this workshop will not be a series of rote presentations by federal and state officials," said Edward von Turkovich, Director of VEM. "Instead, it is our intention to create a constructive dialog, driven by the questions, concerns, and real-life examples provided by Vermont communities."
In addition to expanding and updating the directory of resources available for assistance in making communities disaster resistant, participants will provide examples of how the resources can be used, and establish a protocol for updating the Resource guide during future disasters.
Participants will also make specific recommendations for changes in policies, procedures, legislation and resource allocation to improve the rate and quality of community-based mitigation projects.
Host for the all-day workshop will be the University of Vermont Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.