In three years, tornado-ravaged Joplin went from a disaster zone, to a city on the mend. The scars of the May 22, 2011 storm slowly fading with each new building that goes up.
“We learned a lot from Joplin; we learned a lot from the tornadoes down in Branson area...Dallas County, all around,” stated John Elmore, Planning Specialist with the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management.
They were officials lessons learned dealt with reacting to a disaster immediately after it happened.
Now, recovering and rebuilding from a disaster is the focus of a new plan by Springfield and Greene County’s Office of Emergency Management.
“The job is to bring the community back to the way it was prior to the disaster- whatever it was.” stated Larry Wood, Interim Director of the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management.
At 400 pages long, the new response plan details how the city will move forward post-disaster.
“These different functions cover everything from mental health and spiritual needs to financial and those types of services to get the economy back and get the community back on track again,” Wood stated. “
“It is very important to have a plan in place for that what-if type scenario,” Elmore explained. “This way we know up front, ahead of time, and not just trying to figure it out on the spot.”
And, while tornadoes come to mind, the OEM plan also details how the city could get back on its feet after other types of catastrophes like floods and earthquakes.
“Hopefully it doesn’t happen but if it does we want to be ready to go, and by doing the work upfront prior to the disaster happening, it is going to pay dividends later on,” said Wood.
The response plan still needs approval by the Springfield City Council until it can be fully implemented.