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Cole County prepares for severe weather that comes with spring

The Cole County Emergency Management Agency has been working with departments such as Jefferson City Public Works to prepare for severe weather including tornadoes and flooding.

Emergency Management Director Bill Farr said he also sits in on drills at hospitals to oversee their plans.

The agency said it is prepared with plenty of supplies if anything were to happen. It has a room full of supplies including hundreds of cots, blankets and sandbags.

Farr said these supplies make them more prepared than years in the past. He said the agency participates in drills such as the statewide tornado drill that took place Tuesday and also runs countywide drills. He said it is up to people to participate in those drills, so the agency tells residents to have a plan.

“What we try to tell people is make that plan, go to a safe place in the lower level of your home. Have a, you know, a battery operated radio, cellphone charger, extra food, extra water. Something that if you’re going to be down there several hours your family’s protected,” Farr said.

He said Cole County works with the National Weather Services to prepare and monitor weather.

“Once they say ‘You’ve got a problem’ they can set off the systems here. It’s all electronic, all digital, and it can be set up at your 911 system, so to me National Weather Service is really our eyes in the sky,” he said.

The agency has purchased supplies such as massive generators and signs it can place by the roads to direct people to shelters. Many of them cost thousands of dollars.

Farr said getting supplies is becoming more difficult because of consistent cuts in federal funding.

He often writes grants to get things such as an outdoor alarm system that can be used where no alarm systems are present or where a large crowd of people gather.

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