Boston, MA -- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director James Lee Witt invited the Town of Fort Fairfield, Maine to join a nationwide effort to become a disaster-resistant community.
Project Impact: Building a Disaster-Resistant Community is a national initiative that aims to change the way America deals with disasters by encouraging communities to assess their vulnerabilities and take action to limit damage before disasters occur.
"Fort Fairfield has the kind of strong local leadership that is crucial to the success of the Project Impact initiative and a community's efforts to become disaster resistant," said Art Cleaves, Director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency.
The town of Fort Fairfield, located in Central Aroostock County is a community prone to riverine flooding, winter storms, ice storms and ice jams. The town has taken aggressive action to manage its flood risk, 89 structures in the floodplain that have been identified as repetitive loss properties.
The community committee in Fort Fairfield believes that active and informed residents provide an avenue for an increased in private involvement and investment in natural hazard risk reduction. Fort Fairfield has a well documented experience.
"Communities across this country need to be prepared for disasters that we know will come," said Setti D. Warren, Director of FEMA Region I, which includes the six New England states. "FEMA invited Fort Fairfield to participate as a Project Impact community because of its high risk for flooding, its history of disaster loss, and its proven track record for taking actions to become disaster resistant."
As part of being designated a Project Impact community, Fort Fairfield will receive technical support from FEMA. A local partnership of government, the business community and individual citizens will provide funding, in-kind services, technical support and labor to undertake actions to reduce the community's risk and to encourage disaster-resistant community activities.
"Region I has been involved for many years in assisting the Town of Fort Fairfield during hurricanes and nor'easters," Warren said. "We look forward to building upon our established relationships in the community and to working closely with the town's leadership, businesses and citizens to implement new strategies for reducing the impact of disasters to come."
Project Impact History
Since October 1997, Director Witt and FEMA have worked with seven pilot communities and their state governments to demonstrate the benefits of disaster mitigation. The communities represent a cross section of America.
In each community, local partners have embraced Project Impact and have undertaken actions to protect themselves against disasters. This experience helped FEMA build a model that communities, businesses and individual citizens can use as they take actions to reduce the effects of disasters where they live and work.
Fort Fairfield is one of seven new communities and over 200 others across America invited today to participate in the Project Impact initiative. The other seven in New England are: Norwich, Connecticut; Cape Cod Commission, Massachusetts; Winchester and Hampton, New Hampshire; Wooksocket, Rhode Island; Addison County Regional Planning Commission, Vermont.