By Tammy Moore Teague
Mansfield School Superintendent Robert Ross recommended the board adopt the Sebastian County Hazard Mitigation Plan at Monday night’s meeting. This plan supports emergency response preparedness in the event of tornadoes, floods, drought, earthquakes, severe winter weather, hazardous materials and wildfire.
The Mitigation Plan is defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as “any action taken to eliminate or reduce the long-term risk to human life and property from hazards and their effects. Hazard Mitigation is the only phase of emergency management specifically dedicated to breaking the cycle of damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage.”
The school board approved the motion to adopt the county’s plan. This will allow local, state and federal government officials to utilize the school facilities if a disaster were to occur. For example, in the event of a devastating tornado, leaving residents displaced, and/or mass casualties, the gym could be utilized as a makeshift hospital or shelter.
Lastly, if the measure had not been adopted it would have made the school ineligible to receive a grant in the aftermath of a disaster.