By Jackie Nelson
With recent spring storms rolling through South Central Kansas, many residents are thinking about tornado season.
Harvey County Emergency Management Coordinator Lon Buller said the county works with every city in Harvey County to manage disasters and major emergencies.
However, Buller said the county is very cautious about when the Emergency Plan is enacted.
“We have to have a pretty significant event to occur before we step in,” he said.
Buller said being one step ahead of a disaster can save valuable time establishing a chain of command.
“When we start looking outside for mutual aid or have already kicked it in. There is no set criteria but, sometimes it’s better to be ahead of the game. We may have some mutual aid going on. But what we can do is we can do at a local level which takes the chair of county commissions to sign – that officially kicks in the emergency operation plan.”
Buller said the emergency plan is dynamic.
“Updating is almost a continual process. It was in 2011 that it was last formally updated, but we have, through the year, made minor adjustments to emergency support functions. Literally, that means fire service, transportation, the list goes on – there are 15 of them,” he said.
Buller said while the plan is flexible, there are not custom plans for each town.
“While every community is unique in its own way, we have the same plan for the whole county,” he said.
The county has created a plan that can be implemented in any community, yet individual cities are not prevented from having their own disaster management plan.
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