Twenty-two people were appointed by the Schuylkill County commissioners to the Hazard Mitigation Steering Committee in action taken at Wednesday's work session held at the courthouse in Pottsville. They were:

John Matz, Wayne Township, Schuylkill County Emergency Management Coordinator; John Bickley, Frackville, operations and training officer for the Schuylkill County Emergency Management; Susan Smith, director of the Schuylkill County Planning and Zoning; Jackie Pellish, Pottsville, assistant planner for the Schuylkill County Planning and Zoning; Lisa Mahall, county engineer and director of county Real Estate Department; Elizabeth Hinkel, Pottsville, director of Schuylkill Conservation District; Wayne Lehman, North Manheim Township, natural resource specialist for Schuylkill Conservation District.

Daniel Evans, Rush Township, chairman of Local Emergency Planning Commission; Dr. Elinor Madigan, vice chairperson of LEPC; Robert Carl, Orwigsburg, director of Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce; Anthony Prudenti, West Penn Township; and John Malinchok, Frackville.

Also, Wayne Bowen, North Manheim Township, supervisor of North Manheim Township; Amy Batdorf, Ashland, environmental manager of Schuylkill Municipal Authority; Kathy Riotto, Rush Township, member townships association; Kay Jones, director of Schuylkill VISION; Frank Zukas, Butler Township, director of SEDCO; Mary Lambert, McAdoo, member of borough association; Mike Lonergan, Orwigsburg Borough Manager; Scott Graver, Schuylkill Haven, Schuylkill Haven Borough Manager; Diane Best, Landingville, coalition chairperson of Schuylkill Intermediate Unit; and Chad Northcraft, fire forester for Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The duty of the steering committee is to update the county's hazard mitigation plan, name a consultant to present expertise in dealing with and expediting mitigating incidents such as floods, tornadoes, chemical spills on roadways.

The plan was adopted by the commissioners in 2007 and while the current plan was approved by PEMA and FEMA and meets all federal requirements, the county wants to improve on the mitigation strategy requirements of the plan, Commissioner Frank Staudnemeier explained.

The plan covers the 67 municipalities as participants. The job of the steering committee will be to update the risk assessment and hazard vulnerability analysis. The consultant selected will be responsible for identifying the capability of the county and local municipalities to implement the mitigation strategy.