WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have introduced a new awards program for elected county officials. At NACo's 65th Annual Conference, which was held in Mecklenburg County (Charlotte), N.C., July 14-18. FEMA Director James Lee Witt addressed conference attendees, speaking on the importance of proactive disaster prevention and the key role of elected county officials in building disaster resistant communities.
"Leaders are assessing their community's risks from disasters and developing ways to address them. These solutions directly contribute to the growth and sustainability of their community as a whole," said Director Witt. "I believe it is important to recognize the achievements and commitment of local elected officials who have taken steps to make their communities disaster resistant."
The Building Disaster Resistant Communities Leadership Awards are presented to elected county officials who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the area of disaster prevention and mitigation. Award winners are recognized for implementing effective programs that have resulted in a more sustainable, long-term quality of life for their county's citizens. State Associations of Counties play an important role in identifying elected county officials to commend.
There are five award categories:
- Building Code Enforcement
- Innovative Floodplain Management
- Innovation in Disaster Resistant Growth
- Community Outreach and Risk Education
- Comprehensive Mitigation Planning.
One local elected county official per state will be recognized at the NACo Legislative Conference in February 2001. National awards in each of the five categories listed above will be presented during NACo's 2001 Annual Conference in Philadelphia.
"This award is for individuals who take a stand in the name of saving lives," said C. Vernon Gray, NACo Immediate Past President. "That's what proactive prevention is all about - saving lives and livelihoods."
During Director Witt's address to the NACo conference, he kicked off the awards program by presenting the first Building Disaster Resistant Communities Leadership Award to Gray.
Over the past several years, NACo and FEMA have worked as partners to help America's communities become more disaster resistant. The new Building Disaster Resistant Communities Leadership Awards program is the latest in a series of joint efforts to highlight the importance of disaster prevention.
To find out more about The Building Disaster Resistant Communities Leadership Awards you can call FEMA's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at 202-646-4515 or send an email to IGA@fema.gov.