Testimony on disaster response heard by Mo. Senate subcommittee | St. Louis Public Radio

Testimony on disaster response heard by Mo. Senate subcommittee

Jul 26, 2011

A Missouri Senate subcommittee heard testimony at the Capitol today from state officials who handle disaster response.

Andrea Spillars, Deputy Director of the Department of Public Safety, told the Subcommittee on Emergency Response that state and local officials coordinated their response efforts very well following the Joplin tornado.

“We had hundreds of law enforcement agencies, ambulance, EMS, search and rescue, and coordinating all of those agencies so they were going to the right sectors at the right time to do what they were supposed to do, we did that as a region," Spillars testified.

Loni Cotton is a case worker with the St. Charles Long Term Recovery Committee.  She told Senate committee members that the state has not done well at collecting accurate data following natural disasters.

“They weren’t doing a lot of good demographics, collection of information on the kind of flooding that was happening, the kind of damage that was happening, just who was involved," Cotton said.  "Because of that, there wasn’t a good feel for the actual damage.”

Lawmakers have conducted similar hearings around the state. They’re being used to determine if a special legislative session on disaster response is needed, or if new bills can wait until next year’s regular session.