The Senate Interim Subcommittee on Emergency Response has heard testimony from the Cole County Sheriff on ways he thinks the state can improve its disaster response.

Greg White says Cole county is part of a seven-county consortium that he calls “outstanding.” He says the group helps to unify how business is done and in creating databases that all members can draw from. He wants to see it expanded, and suggests similar efforts be developed statewide.

White also emphasizes involving the public in disaster plans. He says in the case of a major disaster covering multiple counties resources may be overtaxed unless officials can call on the public to be active in the relief effort. Programs like “Ready in 3” can help prepare the public and encourage them to get involved, he says.

White is an original member of the Faith-Based Missouri Initaitive team. He encourages programs like that to bolster relief efforts at the local level and help relieve pressure on other agencies.

Finally, he says more resources must be provided to responders at the local level who will have to stand alone in the early stages of any major disaster. Here again, he says the public must be equal partners in developing plans ahead of time and executing them when needed.