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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Revised emergency plan nears completion

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  • The red, three-binder notebook is about four inches thick and it covers almost any disaster imaginable in Pratt County.
    Born out of the aftermath of 9-11, the Emergency Operations Plan is the culmination of input from various agencies and institutions in Pratt County concerning disasters of all kinds.
    Once a year the entire plan has to be reviewed and every five years it has to be submitted to the state for approval, said Pratt County Emergency Manager Tim Branscom.
    The last approval was July 2008 so, technically, the EOP expired July 2013 and it's time to get it approved again.
    Branscom has worked with agencies and entities on updating the EOP for many weeks and plans on having it ready to submit to the state by no later than the end of January 2014.
    The plan goes to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management for approval then back to the county where the county commissioners have to approve the final copy and finally the other towns in county have to adopt it as well.
    Getting the EOP recertified not only gives the county entities an opportunity to review the plan and make any necessary changes, it is also necessary so the county will remain eligible for certain federal grant funding, primarily the Emergency Management Performance Grant that helps with operation costs, Branscom said.
    Since it is impossible to have a plan for every conceivable emergency or disaster in the county, the plan has to be specific enough to cover a wide variety of disasters but general enough to cover variations of those disaster scenarios.
    The county has six coordinators the oversee Pratt County Public Works, Pratt County Emergency Services, Pratt County Health Department, Pratt County Sheriff's Office, Pratt County Emergency Management and American Red Cress.
    The plan outlines the different types of disasters and identifies 15 Emergency Support Function Annexes for each type and location of disaster.
    From firefighting to communication to transportation to emergency management, the each ESF is explained in detail so wherever a disaster occurs in the county, everyone will know who is assigned to each task, Branscom said.
    The ESFs list the lines of authority, lists assets and identifies mutual aid partners in other counties.
    It also covers action necessary for people with special needs, what to do with pets and many other topics.
    Not all ESFs will need to be activated for every disaster. .
    While county authorities hope they never have to use the EOP, history has shown that Pratt County has been hit with train derailment, big fires, flooding, tornadoes, high winds and snowstorms. The county still holds the state record for the biggest snowfall in a 24-hour period with 30 inches of snow in a late March blizzard in 2009.
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