IntroductionCovington is a city in the state of Louisiana. According to the United States census bureau 2014 estimates, Covington city has a population of 9686 (United States Census Bureau, 2015). The city has a population density of 1098.6 persons per square mile. About 40 percent of the population is made up by people under the age of 18 and those above 65 years (United States Census Bureau, 2015). The population of Covington has increased over the years. Residential housing and commercial buildings have increased significantly in the area. The city has an elevation of 7.9m making prone to marine hazards. The total area is 8.2 square miles. It is estimated that about 16.1% of the population lives below the poverty line. Most of the hazard mitigation activities carried out in Covington are done in coordination with the St. Tammany Parish and the Louisiana State Hazard Mitigation Team.
Hazards Facing the City of Covington
Hazard mitigation involves employing sustained actions that are aimed at eliminating or reducing the long-term risks and effects of hazards. It is important to identify and determine the potential hazards that may affect the city of Covington in order to determine the appropriate strategies that would lessen the expected impacts. Covington is located in an area prone to a variety of natural hazards. The hazards are considered life and health threatening and some of them have caused extensive property damage. The possibility flooding is considered a high risk phenomenon due to several factors that can result in water inundation. Flooding can result from tropical storms and cyclones, hurricanes, failure of dams or forced drainage systems, and tornadoes (St. Tammany, 2015). The city is also likely to suffer damages from strong windstorms and wind-borne debris.
The hazard management team comes up with strategies that ensure homes and businesses suffer minimal damage possible and critical facilities and other public services are operational in the event of a disaster. In addition, adequate evacuation routes and emergency communications are sufficiently maintained to ensure their availability when needed (St. Tammany, 2015). The city also regulates construction of buildings and infrastructure to ensure they can withstand the effects of a disaster, so as to reduce the impacts of natural hazards.
The city of Covington tries to estimate the impacts of natural hazards for five to ten years. This involves analysing population and housing growth and determining the required inventory in case any of the disasters strike. The city has guidelines which are used in natural hazards:
Protecting residents and their property from natural hazards to a maximum feasible extent
In case residents cannot be protected from the impending hazard, adequate warning will be provided. In addition, safe escape measures will also be provided to enable saving of as many lives as possible.
Future infrastructure developments will be constructed according to disaster management standards so as to reduce risks to the population and existing structures.
Cooperation with local government bodies to ensure proper coordination in the disaster mitigation program (St. Tammany, 2015)
According to a survey carried out in St. Tammany Parish, residents are more concerned over the loss of life in relation to natural hazards. Through public awareness, the city of Covington has been able to enlighten the public on actions to take in the event of a natural disaster. Residents are advised to move away from structures that may suffer damage and find shelter in new buildings that can withstand the effects of the disaster. Provision of emergency telecommunication services ensures residents can be accounted and those suffering from injuries can easily be located and provided with medical care.
Effective search and rescue operations ensure that the injured are quickly found and provided with medical attention. Preparations are necessary not only to save lives but to recover as quickly as possible. Anticipation of floods, windstorms and tornadoes forms a basis in the construction of structures that will withstand these events (St. Tammany, 2015). In addition, funds are readily in place and recovery procedures can be easily undertaken. Comprehensive emergency plans, evacuation procedures, and established telecommunications systems ensure coordination in the event of a natural hazard to minimize of loss of lives. Extensive studies are usually done to estimate the next probable natural hazard that may strike and preparations are done accordingly. According to the St. Tammany Parish, early planning is the best way to mitigate the impacts of local hazards. It also ensures programs and activities are successfully coordinated to prevent conflicting activities and cost reduction of the overall process.
In the recent years the city has undertaken programs to improve most of the infrastructures that may pose a risk in case of a disaster. This includes improvement of drainage systems, construction of safe rooms in critical health facilities and other buildings, and improvement of several public structures to be impact resistant. The drainage capacity of water systems has been increased to reduce the effects of flooding hazards.
The city of Covington faces potential risks from many natural hazards. Most of the hazards lead to flooding of the area. The city has undertaken strategies to ensure that it is prepared should any of the disaster strike. The strategies employed to mitigate the effects of environmental hazards include public awareness, construction of impact-resistant infrastructure, and provision of essential services during and after the hazard. Therefore, the city and its community are well prepared for potential natural disasters that may come in future.
- St. Tammany. (2015). St. Tamany Parish Hazard Mitigation Update. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from http://www.stpgov.org/files/Homeland Security/St_Tammany_Parish_Hazard_Mitigation_Plan_FINAL_DRAFT_Feb_201511.pdf
- United States Census Bureau. (2015). State & County QuickFacts. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/22/2218125.html