But Erie County officials seek to face these natural hazards head on — at least in spots before they happen.
Officials are working on updating a plan, which includes a digital map, pinpointing potential disasters and danger zones in Erie County.
Last revised about five years ago, the plan also offers solutions to both prevent and combat disasters.
“The plan identifies natural hazards that we have or could have in the county, and we determine how we are going to mitigate them in the future,” said Tim Jonovich, Erie County’s emergency management director.
Local officials just used the plan a few weeks ago during severe flooding in Vermilion. They determined, through a map, several homes on Riverside Drive were elevated. This allowed emergency boats to access the river so residents could flee their homes.
This event, along with others occurring in recent years, will be included in the new plan.
The map also identifies critical structures, power substations, roadways and railroads — or potentially vulnerable areas where many people could sustain serious injuries or even die if a natural disaster occurred there.
An update is necessary to receive money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“After a disaster comes through, the county could qualify for funding to rebuild or receive a reimbursement from the damages incurred” Jonovich said. “If you don’t have an updated mitigation plan, you will not be eligible for the funding”
Want to report?
Anyone with a stake in Erie County — from residents to tourists and even entrepreneurs — are encouraged to inform county officials of a potential danger zone or vulnerable area.
This could include, but is not limited to, potential areas prone to flooding, tornadoes, severe storms, erosion, earthquakes and droughts.
To submit information: