Boston, MA -- The Town of Winchester, New Hampshire has joined a select list of communities across the country when it was chosen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to become part of the agency's Project Impact: Building Disaster Resistant Communities.
"I'm very pleased that the town of Winchester has been added to the town participating in Project Impact. This relationship will help equip Winchester with the knowledge and tools to reduce disaster damage," said U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass about today's announcement.
Project Impact's goal is to equip all communities in America with the knowledge and tools to reduce disaster damage. Communities in all 50 states and Puerto Rico were nominated by their states.
"It gives me great pleasure to incorporate the Town of Winchester into the Project Impact effort," said FEMA Director James Lee Witt. "This initiative has demonstrated that prevention works, and Project Impact will continue to help Hampton businesses and residents shift their focus from simply responding to disasters to taking actions in advance to stop the devastating property damage and loss of life."
Project Impact, an initiative launched by FEMA in 1997, works with state and local governments to build more disaster resistant communities. The partnership will unite FEMA, the Town of Winchester, the New Hampshire Office of Emergency Management, local government, citizens and business leaders in a combined effort to envision and implement strategies designed to lessen future disaster loss.
"We are delighted to be part of a program that will build on our existing efforts to lessen future repetitive losses and damages. It is extremely important to protect the lives and property of Winchester residents from the disruption that is associated with disasters," said Woodbury P. Fogg, P.E., Director of the New Hampshire Office of Emergency Management.
Winchester is located on the central Seacoast of New Hampshire in Rockingham County is vulnerable to coastal erosion, storm water flooding, hurricanes, and wild-land fires. The Town officials believe that pre-disaster planning, improvements in regulations and pro-active floodplain management helps to reduce risks to life and property in post-disaster operations.
While we can't stop disasters from happening, towns like Winchester and others in New England can have taken steps to implement preventive mitigation measures long before disasters strike," said Setti D. Warren, Regional Director of FEMA's office in Boston.
Prior to joining Project Impact, the Town of Winchester has worked with the New Hampshire Office of State Planning and the University of New Hampshire to develop data on the effects of sea level rise on the communities of Hampton and Portsmouth.
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 by implementing preventive measures before disaster strikes.
Project Impact corporate and community partners assist with monetary aid, in-kind services, technical support and labor to aid in implementing disaster-resistant measures. FEMA provides technical, administrative and financial support.
Since its inception in 1997, over 200 communities and 2,500 business partners have embraced Project Impact. Instead of waiting for disasters to occur, Project Impact communities initiate mentoring relationships, private and public partnerships, public outreach and disaster mitigation projects to reduce potentially devastating disasters. Previous community projects have included creating disaster resistance strategies, revising local building and land use codes, and passing bond issues to construct prevention measures that impact the entire community.