Representatives from around mid-Missouri found that they all had things to work on when they met Tuesday to discuss security issues affecting their communities.
Boone County officials sponsored the meeting to discuss community readiness in mid-Missouri in the event of a disaster. Most agreed that not every county or city has the resources needed to respond.
The Central Missouri Homeland Security Coordination meeting was held in the equipment cache for Missouri Task Force One at the Boone County Fire Protection District headquarters.
County commissioners, sheriffs, police chiefs, fire chiefs, emergency managers and public health officials from Boone, Cooper, Cole, Howard, Callaway, Audrain, Miller, Morgan, Osage, Montgomery, Camden, Gasconade and Moniteau counties attended the meeting.
Boone County Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller said the meeting was organized largely because the county emergency plans were updated, and she said it also was known that work was needed to bring together members from around the area.
“There need to be relations between different areas to be able to ask for help,” Miller said.
After introductions and overviews from Miller and Boone County Fire Protection District Chief Steve Paulsell, attendants split into groups to discuss work needed by elected officials, fire, law, public health and emergency-management sectors. Each group then returned to the larger group to discuss what it felt felt needed to be done to improve its services.
Although the groups said they found it difficult to communicate with others when they need specific resources, Susan Green, the emergency management coordinator of Cole County/Jefferson City Emergency Management, said there is already regional management in place.
“We’re willing to participate, and we can help if others are willing to participate,” Green said. “We will offer to send people to sit and discuss what is needed to go forward in an emergency situation.”
Each group found that much was being done on the county level, but more work is needed to ensure better communication and cooperation throughout the region.
The groups said that this meeting was a start, and Cole County agreed to hold the next of what is hoped to be regular quarterly meetings of regional public safety officials.