SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Scottsdale joined a select list of communities across the country today when it was chosen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to become part of the agency's Project Impact: Building Disaster Resistant Communities.
Project Impact is a nationwide endeavor started by FEMA in 1997, to help cities and towns lessen the risk of disasters. Scottsdale is uniting with FEMA, the Arizona Department of Emergency Management, local citizens, and business leaders in protecting against future damages.
"We are delighted to be part of a community-based program aimed at reducing the devastation and terrible human costs associated with disasters," said Martha Whetstone, Regional Director of FEMA Region IX in San Francisco. "Scottsdale's location has made it extremely vulnerable to floods, droughts, and other natural calamities."
Prior to joining Project Impact, Scottsdale enacted a fire-sprinkler ordinance and launched a campaign against wildfire in defensible spaces. It has also focused upon flood and drought management, a Superfund site, and mutual-aid agreements.
In the past 10 years, FEMA has spent more than $25 billion to help repair and rebuild disaster-stricken areas. Project Impact's goal is to erase the ceaseless damage-repair-damage cycle through preventive measures, before disaster strikes.
"We're pleased to incorporate Scottsdale into the Project Impact effort," said FEMA Director James Lee Witt. "Prevention works, so Project Impact will help Scottsdale businesses and residents shift their focus from simply responding to disasters to taking advance action."
Project Impact corporate and community partners assist with money, in-kind services, technical support and labor for disaster-resistant projects. FEMA provides technical, administrative and financial support.
Since 1997, approximately 200 communities and 2,500 business partners have embraced Project Impact. Instead of waiting for disasters to occur, Project Impact communities - through public-private partnerships - initiate mentoring, public outreach, and mitigation projects. Preventative strategies have included revising local building and land use codes and passing necessary bond measures.