Mid-MO agency drafts updates to plan

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COLUMBIA - The Mid-Missouri Regional Planning Commission presented a draft for the Boone County Hazard Mitigation Plan Wednesday.

Susan Galeota is a regional planner for the commission and said the plan is designed to lessen the impact of a potential hazard.

"The hazard mitigation plan is designed to figure out what we can do ahead of time so that if a hazard occurs, it will have less impact," Galeota said.

FEMA requires the commission to update the plan every five years. The commission started working on the 2015 draft in November and will present it to the public twice before it can be finalized.

This year the commission updated the hazard mitigation plan from a natural disaster plan to a more broadened all-hazard mitigation plan. The 2015 draft was updated to include technological and human-made hazards such as widespread hacking or biological terrorism. 

Josh Creamer is the county's deputy director of emergency management and said although the plan was not updated for any specific incident, there were many examples of why it should be broadened.

"Ebola was one incident of why we wanted to expand the scope to be much broader than just natural disasters," Creamer said.

The commission added public health emergency, hazardous material release, nuclear incident, cyber attacks, utility service disruption, telecommunications disruption and active shooter sections to the 2015 plan.

Galeota said cyber attacks have increased overall in the past couple of years.

"This is a growing concern for everyone," Galeota said. "They [local governments] are amping up security."

The planning commission partnered with Boone County to create the mitigation draft. Ten areas within Boone County, all public school districts and three universities in Columbia have helped contribute to the plan.

The commission relies on FEMA mitigation grant programs for funding.

The commission said it hopes to have the plan finalized in June.