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Columbia – Boone County EMA has plan for large-scale tragedy

If a massive explosion were to happen in Mid-Missouri, it’s likely it would be too much for emergency crews to handle.

While responders are equipped and ready for any event, local emergency crews in Boone County think the Boston bombing likely even overloaded Boston officials.

Still though, problems do continue at the Columbia-Boone County 911 center and would make the situation harder.

“We would be prepared for something like that if God forbid anything like that would happen here,” said Gale Blomenkamp with the Boone County Fire Department. He told ABC 17 News all emergency responders are ready for any tragedy.

However, part of being ahead of a disaster or attack is knowing it could be too much for local response to handle. When ABC 17 News asked Joe Piper with Boone County and Columbia 911 what would happen, he said, “Well in the dispatching department we would probably be overwhelmed with 911 calls.”

“An event like this is going to overwhelm any communication system in the country, no communication system is prepared to handle an event like this,” said Blomenkamp.

In Boone County, the 911 center can’t even handle day-to-day calls. Therefore, a situation like this would leave many phoning for help, with no answer. “Those other callers that weren’t tying up those trunks would get busy signals on the 911 line,” said Piper.

While callers would be waiting, fire, police and EMS would be sent out after the first call came in. “Of course it gets hectic and there are a lot of calls and those kind of things but it still doesn’t change anything on their response,” said Martina Pounds with Boone County Emergency Management.

Once emergency responders were dispatched, emergency management’s plans would go into effect. They would become a liaison between all the law enforcement agencies, medical, and fire. Those agencies would follow protocol and do what they normally would in any emergency

It is likely they would have to call in back up from across the state.

Even with the recent tax increase in effect and more personnel at dispatch, emergency officials said it would not make much difference in such a horrific event.

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