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Henderson County is updating its Hazard Mitigation Plan and is seeking public input on the lengthy document.

The plan is designed to reduce the risk of loss of life from hazards such as drought, floods, severe storms, wildfires and tornadoes. It is a requirement for eligibility for the millions of dollars available through federal mitigation programs.

"This is an integral part of our emergency management planning and response" County Judge Wade McKinney said.

The current plan has been in effect since Sept. 16, 2011. The draft of the plan can be seen at the Henderson County Fire Marshal's Office and is available online at the Henderson County website.

"We will have on the Commissioners Court agenda setting a public hearing on the plan for December," County Judge Wade McKinney said. "People will be able to give their opinions about anything they'd like to see addressed."

Earlier in the year, a steering committee was put together to provide technical support

for the update. The committee included county emergency management representatives, and key county staff.

The update was done in light of the many changes that have taken place since 2011.

"This is a comprehensive overhaul of the plan," McKinney said.

The first step in developing the Hazard Mitigation update was to re-establish a planning partnership with the unincorporated areas of Henderson County as well as Athens and the more than 20 other municipalities. Each area has a portion of the 650 page document devised especially for them.

"Henderson County is unique, compared to most counties with the number of municipalities that we have," McKinney said. "If was just the county, it would be half that size."

Each planning partner must individually adopt the updated document.

"Once we send the plan to the Texas Department of Emergency Management, they approve it," he said. "Once it comes back from that approval, all of the entities have to adopt the plan."

McKinney expects the time frame to take from three to six months.

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