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Emergency plan continues to develop
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Work is continuing on a plan that will help prepare for emergencies that could strike our community, according to Barton County Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller.
She said the county “is close to accumulating (the) required data for the Barton County Hazard Mitigation Plan.”
Miller explained, “the purpose of a Hazard Mitigation Plan is to guide hazard mitigation to better protect the people and property of Barton County. The Barton County Hazard Mitigation Plan will be a multi-jurisdictional plan, meaning that not only the county, but also local governments with taxing authority, such as cities, townships and school districts, are planning partners. 
“Currently four school districts and nine cities have taken action to participate in the plan. All of the townships within Barton County will become part of the county section of the plan.”
Miller added that arrangements are being made to get local residents involved in the planning process.
“At this point, it appears that the first of two public hearings, which will allow citizens an opportunity to review and make comments on the plan, will be held in mid to late September. A formal announcement of the first public meeting is expected to be made by the first of September.”
The input will add to what will go to the state officials, Miller added. “After the hearings, the plan will be forwarded to the state of Kansas and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for review.”
Creating a plan is important, but so is preparing county staff to work that plan, and that effort is also continuing, Miller reported.
“Training was provided (earlier) in August for the ‘Accountability System’ mobile handheld devices and software that were provided to all counties in the South Central Kansas Regional Homeland Security Council. The ‘Accountability System’ provides a means of tracking personnel and resources during an emergency.” 
The system is crucial to local governments, that need to keep up with their involvement in a local disaster situation, Miller explained.
“Through the software in this system, a report can be generated that lists all personnel and their hours worked during an emergency event. In addition, any resources that are provided by cities, counties or business and industry can all be tracked and a written report produced.”
After a disaster is administered, a local government unit can often get emergency assistance from state or federal agencies, if it can prove its involvement.