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Cole County and Jefferson City officials update emergency plan

Emergency officials in Jefferson City and Cole County are working on updating their emergency plan.

Monday, the city council will vote on adopting the joint 2016 natural hazard mitigation plan.

In years past, the plan has included 11 natural disaster risks like tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, severe winter weather and even earthquakes.

But this year, it will include 10 technological and human-made hazards that pose potential threats if the update plan is approved. Those potential threats include cyber attacks,armed intruders, public health emergencies and more.

Jefferson City and Cole County have had a FEMA-approved plan since 2005. The plan must be updated every five years with state and federal approval.

If a potential disaster is recognized in the hazard mitigation plan, the city or county is much more likely to get federal funds if the disaster occurs, according to Cole County Emergency Management Director Bill Farr.

If the updated plan is approved, Farr said it will cover man-made mass casualty events like the recent deadly mass shooting in Orlando.

“It could be,” Farr said. “It could be that as far as a mass-fatality if we’re talking fatality, it could be a large bus wreck on 54 Highway, or you know somewhere within the city or the county where you have a lot of injuries a lot of fatalities. It could be a plane crash.”

One issue listed in the updated plan’s summary is a quote, “serious lack of tornado safe rooms in the jurisdictions and tornadoes/high winds are one of the greatest threats in the area.”

However, there are about 25 shelters across the county that could be set up after a disaster to treat or house anyone that has been put out of their homes, according to Farr.

Cole County commissioners have already approved the plan for the county.

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