Natural disasters like heavy snow, floods and tornadoes factor for a number of weather-related damages and deaths throughout the country.
To help reduce these numbers, Congress passed a law in 2000 requiring every community in the U.S. to create a pre-disaster mitigation plan. The purpose of this plan is to reduce the amount of property damage and loss of life caused by natural and human-related hazards, and allows the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to provide funding for planning activities.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security in 2005 submitted a state-wide grant application to FEMA, allowing West Central Indiana Economic Development District Inc. and The Polis Center of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to assist counties in creating its mitigation plan.
Putnam County was one of the counties to receive assistance from this grant.
During Monday's meeting, David Coats and John Buechler from The Polis Center discussed with the committee members about the natural disasters that have historically affected the county.
Coats and Buechler provided the committee with a packet of information in regard to the different historical natural disasters the county experienced over a 49-year period. Committee members were asked to name some disasters that they did not see on the list.
Some disasters the committee members named were the blizzard of 1978, the downburst of 1990 and the floods of 1993 and 1997.
The committee also went over the disasters that were the most hazardous for the county. Some of the most hazardous disasters for the county were wind storms/tornadoes, floods, winter storms and drought.
By using this information, plus newspaper articles and human testimonials on the disasters, Coats and Buechler will be able to create disaster models and risk assessments.
Coats said the risk assessment will allow the committee "to make decisions about what kind of mitigation projects would be effective in Putnam County."
The next scheduled meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the Courthouse Annex. Coats and Buechler will present the disaster models and the county's risk assessment. John Hill of the Indiana Geological Survey will also be present to discuss the possibility of an earthquake occurring in the county.
This meeting is open to the public.