About the Project

About the Project

The Luzerne County Planning and Zoning Department, in coordination with the Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency, is in the process of updating the Luzerne County Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP). Our multi-jurisdictional HMP must be updated every five years, and the current plan will expire in September of 2020. The HMP will be updated using the best and most current available information and data, conducting a thorough hazard risk assessment and vulnerability analysis, and evaluating and revising priorities and mitigation strategies to increase community resilience.

Objectives:

  • Provide the public opportunities throughout HMP development and drafting process to provide input.
  • Update the risk assessment using the most recent disaster data and information.
  • Update hazard mitigation goals, objectives and actions as they relate to reducing loss of life and property from natural and human-made hazards.
  • Obtain state and federal approval of the updated plan.

An EF2 tornado touched down in Wilkes-Barre Township damaging several commercial buildings in Arena Hub Plaza on June 13, 2018

Hazard Mitigation Plan Update Process Summary

This process has six steps.

STEP 1: Organize Resources & Build the Planning Team

Relevant studies, plans, and reports are collected along with communications resources that allow the public to be involved throughout the planning process. The Planning Team (PT) consists of local planning and emergency management staff and diverse stakeholders from government, businesses, academic institutions, adjacent counties, state agencies, and non-profit organizations.

STEP 2: Develop the Plan’s Risk Assessment

Location and geographic extent of natural and human-made hazards that can affect the county along with their impacts and future probability is identified. Scientific and anecdotal evidence of past events is collected and evaluated the losses the community has sustained and hazards are ranked using a Pennsylvania's risk factor methodology.

STEP 3: Assess Capabilities

Local and county capabilities in emergency management, the National Flood Insurance Program, planning and regulatory authority, administrative and technical knowledge, and finances are assessed.

STEP 4: Develop the Mitigation Strategy

Existing goals, objectives, and actions and are evaluated and updated as needed. The PT defines appropriate mitigation techniques, and chooses and prioritizes mitigation actions and projects in the Mitigation Action Plan.

STEP 5: Determine Plan Maintenance Process

The HMP is a living document that must be reviewed, updated, and maintained annually. A schedule including responsible parties or agencies involved with monitoring, evaluating, and updating the plan during its five-year cycle is prepared. A process for integrating the updated Mitigation Strategy into existing plans and reports should be outlined and a plan for continued public outreach and participation must also be determined.

STEP 6: Obtain Mitigation Plan Approval and Adoption

The draft plan is made available for public comment then submitted to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for review and approval. Once a Plan has been determined to meet all state and federal requirements and receives official approval from FEMA it should be adopted by all participating jurisdictions and the county.

Ice jams on the Susquehanna River caused water levels to rise raising concerns about flooding in January 2018.