In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters across the nation, the Waco-McLennan County Office of Emergency Management has shared mitigation plans and other information about local preparation for natural disasters.

Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator Daniel Scott hosted a sparsely attended public meeting Tuesday at the Waco Convention Center. Scott reviewed a local hazard mitigation action plan and a hazardous material plan.

“We want to let people know what we are doing, let people know what we have in place, and we are giving people the opportunity to ask questions and make it better by offering suggestions,” Scott said. “If people don’t see plans for something we’ve never thought of, we can start to incorporate that into our plan.”

Scott discussed a full-scale airport emergency exercise held in May and tabletop discussions held with the city of Waco in September.

Officials have identified nine natural disasters that are most likely to impact McLennan County: flooding, thunderstorms, tornadoes, drought, wildland fires, winter storms, hail, hurricanes and dam failure. Scott said mitigation plans cover Waco and unincorporated areas of the county in an effort to reduce hazards to life and property.

“There is definitely a renewed sense of urgency, and that is throughout the country, not just in Texas, but especially with what happened in southern Texas, Florida and now in Puerto Rico with the hurricanes,” Scott said. “You never know what is going to happen. There are certain things you can’t plan for and certain things you can’t predict, but plans are living, breathing documents, and we can change our plans and see how we can do things better.”

For more information about McLennan County’s Hazard Mitigation Action Plan or suggestions for the group, contact Waco-McLennan County Emergency Management Office at 750-5911.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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