Huntingdon officials prepare plan for disasters

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HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Major flooding throughout Central PA in 2018 influenced Huntingdon County to take immediate action to prepare for future disasters.

On Tuesday, Huntingdon County Commissioners officially accepted a $50,000 federal grant. Its purpose is to help minimize the impact of disasters such as flooding… And now a pandemic. Funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or “FEMA” is allowing Huntingdon County to not only update their plan for avoiding disaster but to add to that strategy.

Huntingdon County EMA Director, Joe Thompson says “weather, flooding in particular… really tops the list, we have added pandemic, we have added invasive species because of the spotted lanternfly.” Thompson says usually municipalities use local money for disaster planning, but now with this grant, they don’t have to. He adds “in this case being able to cover the entire amount, the complete cost is a real bonus for Huntingdon County,” He says another bonus is using this plan to recover from the pandemic. Thompson says by identifying the county’s needs during the pandemic, they’ll be able to secure the funding needed to recover. “that would help us potentially be better prepared as we continue through the ongoing pandemic situation and if this were to become worse or grow in intensity in the future,” says Thompson

A draft of the plan was just released to the public and the final plan must be approved by both the State and Federal Emergency Management Agencies. It’s scheduled to take effect by the end of the year.

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