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McLennan, Bell County lacking updated emergency plans

Counties lacking in emergency plans
Posted at 3:25 PM, Jul 02, 2024

CENTRAL TEXAS (KXXV) — There are several counties in Central Texas that have not submitted emergency plans to the federal government.

25 News spoke to one Emergency Management Coordinator who explained how important the plans are.

A FEMA map shows in red which Texas counties don’t have active hazard mitigation plans.

Those are five-year plans that provide an assessment of risks from hurricanes to floods.

In Central Texas, McLennan, Bell and Lampasas counties don’t have plans.

McLennan EMA Coordinator Ryan Dirker says they are active in the renewal plans which will include public input.

“The plan is 400 pages so the renewal process is involved, and we made a plan to do the whole plan because our community has changed," Dirker said.

McLennan County has had so much growth that they wanted to be deliberate about a new one.

"We felt the best thing to do was to deliver a plan we could to residents that future proofs our hazards as they grown," Dirker said.

Hill County has a plan in place, and EMA Coordinator Tom Hemrick says it’s a good idea.

“We try to go through and identify the hazards, and the plan is just how will we as a county deal with that so we’re prepared — that way we’re not guessing," Hemrick said.

In order to get federal funds from FEMA, you must have a plan in place, so not having one could keep counties from receiving billions after a disaster like a flood.

Hemrick says they are not plans that can be thrown together quickly.

“It’s not easy — you have town meetings, meetings with county commissioners," Hemrick said.

"Then it all goes together, then you have to submit it to the state of Texas then to FEMA for final approval.”

25 News reached out to Bell and Lampasas Counties’ EMA, but there have been no responses yet.