State Takes Hard Look at Adequacy of Emergency Plans

JUNE 26, 2006 - Posted at 7:26 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas emergency management officials say they're not sure what would happen if a major disaster were to strike the state.  Emergency officials say they don't believe the state is ready for mass evacuations and the sheltering that would have to follow.

Arkansas Department of Emergency Management deputy director David Maxwell says officials are working to craft a broad plan and that they are putting to use lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina.

The agency submitted a critical self-assessment to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper obtained a copy of the assessment from the federal government after the Homeland Security Department issued a report on readiness.

Governor Huckabee says it is disappointing that the state plan is not ready.

While the state does not have to worry about hurricanes, it does face the prospects of a major earthquake in the New Madrid Fault area and from a possible flu pandemic.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)