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Jefferson County has taken a couple of essential steps to reduce the impact of disasters on residents and the communities in which they live.

In a statement, the county announced the completion of its updated five-year Hazard Mitigation Plan as well as the creation of the state’s first all-hazard mitigation advisory committee.

Coming in at close to 300 pages, the plan details the county’s policies and planning processes to reduce community and individual vulnerability to and the economic and emotional costs of hazards before they occur.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency requires hazard mitigation plans to be reviewed and updated every five years for jurisdictions to remain eligible for federal mitigation assistance.

Mitigation plans begin by identifying natural disasters and other vulnerabilities common to the areas. Then, county officials and neighboring jurisdictions work together to develop long-term strategies to protect people and property from similar events.

Plans like this help break the cycle of recurring disaster damage and the cost of reconstruction.

The county, in its statement, estimates that for every $1 spent on mitigation, an average of $6 is saved in the prevention of future loss.

To complement the county’s plan, its newly created hazard mitigation advisory committee will serve as a consulting body to policymakers, judiciary, and stakeholder groups who will implement the hazard mitigation strategies outlined in the plan.

“No one agency owns the responsibility of all-hazard mitigation,” said Jefferson County Emergency Management Director Hal Grieb. “This plan update has provided us the springboard to create Colorado’s first All-Hazard Mitigation Advisory Committee to formally showcase and share mitigation efforts happening throughout Jefferson County as well as keep federal grant dollars available for our known vulnerabilities surrounding hazards like wildfire, flooding, severe weather, and cybersecurity.”

Agencies participating in the committee include Jefferson County, City of Arvada, City of Edgewater, City of Golden, City of Lakewood, City of Wheat Ridge, Town of Morrison, Arvada Fire, Elk Creek Fire, Evergreen Fire, Fairmount Fire, Foothills Fire, Genesee Fire, Golden Gate Fire, Indian Hills Fire, InterCanyon Fire, North Fork Fire, West Metro Fire, Lookout Mountain Fire, Denver Water, and Jefferson Conservation District.

The committee held its first meeting virtually on Feb. 17 and will meet, at a minimum, annually to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the plan.