As has become abundantly clear over the past several years, climate change is an undeniable global phenomenon that is manifesting itself on the local level through rising heat and sea levels, and increased severe weather and weather-related damage. The local impacts of climate-related severe weather include damage to infrastructure and property, injuries to people, economic disruption, and compromised ecosystems.
In each case, someone has to take charge of cleaning up and rebuilding after the storm, and, equally importantly, someone has to think about how to better prepare for the next storm. In this recent article in the County News, National Association of Counties (NaCO) President and MomentUs Communities Leadership Circle member Linda Langston explains the unique role that counties and local officials can play in strengthening and preparing our communities to withstand these impacts.
Beverly Schlotterbeck, Executive Editor | County News | April 7, 2014
NACo President Linda Langston testified April 3 before a U.S. House subcommittee examining the impact of flood mitigation efforts at the local level. Langston, whose presidential initiative focuses on county resiliency, told the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management that counties are at the forefront of disaster preparation, mitigation and recovery.
“Disasters are local. Local governments are often first to the scene with police, sheriff and firefighters. They are also there for the cleanup, recovery and rebuilding,” she said.
Counties spend over $30 billion dollars annually funding first responders in police and sheriff ’s departments, emergency management professionals, 911 emergency call centers and even county planners who are responsible for mitigating the impact of natural disasters such as flooding.