Douglas County’s quick work pays off |

Douglas County’s quick work pays off

Susan Wood

Come early fall, Douglas County’s disaster preparedness plan should be spared the ax when the federal budget is adopted.

The local Project Impact plan, spun from the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce, will continue with business as usual even after the program is eliminated by the Bush administration as projected, the Federal Emergency Management Agency confirmed Friday.

“Those projects formed prior to the budget approval will receive their (federal) grant money and will continue on,” regional FEMA spokesman Melvin Nelson said. “We’ll work with them.”

The Douglas County core group has already been designated as a participating community and will soon send out its grant application for the FEMA-sponsored project, which helps regions prevent and deal with disasters.

The fortuitous timing of the local plan qualifies the program for support from FEMA, which originally wanted to sign 1,000 communities. This region is more apt to come to grips with fires, floods and earthquakes, project coordinator Pam Jenkins said.

FEMA took an example like Seattle’s 6.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the area in February as a natural disaster that could have been much more potentially devastating. Seattle has its own local Project Impact group.

California and Nevada senators are upset the three-year-old plan has no chance of expanding once the budget is appropriated and finalized.

Meanwhile, FEMA is establishing new design and construction guidelines for steel-frame buildings in earthquake-prone areas, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

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