Glynn County’s Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Natural Resources are in the midst of a worthwhile endeavor.
Together, with grant money from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, they are developing a plan that will not only address the immediate aftermath of a disaster, but look far beyond that at long term recovery.
“It’s an all-inclusive plan for not just right after the disaster, but in the years to come to rebuild the communities,” said Glynn County EMA Director Jay Wiggins. “People always think of hurricanes, but this is an all-hazard plan. Natural or manmade, tornado or hurricane, fire or chemical spills.”
That is why a long-term plan is imperative, especially in a community — as we learned this past October — not quite as immune from disaster as many thought.
Hurricane Matthew proved to us that major storms do not simply pass us by, they have the potential to do serious damage and create a long and difficult road back to normal.
A recovery and redevelopment plan is meant to prescribe a response to every degree of disaster. Work on the plan isn’t costing the county anything but time, as it is being paid for by the NOAA’s Regional Coastal Resilience Grant.
Hagerty Consulting has been assisting the DNR and EMA to develop the plan. It also worked alongside DNR coastal resources specialist Jennifer Kline as she worked with Brantley and Chatham counties to develop their recovery and redevelopment plans.
“It’s one of those things. Matthew opened a lot of eyes. This is something we started prior to Matthew, and I wish it had been in place,” Wiggins said.
But better late than never as we see it.
The response to Matthew was sound, but it taught us plenty about how to handle a similar situation should it happen again.
The plan being developed now will only provide a better framework and guidance in the event we must evacuate again and return home to even more damage than we have seen previously.
Of course, having the recent experience will likely aid those writing the plan.
“This is an opportunity to sit down, pick it apart and see where it went wrong and where it went right,” Wiggins said.
When this new plan is completed, we hope more things go right than wrong.