ADED Completes Pairing State's Counties for Disaster Plan

AUGUST 30, 2006 - Posted at 1:36 p.m. CDT

CONWAY, AR - Arkansas emergency officials have completed pairings in a pilot program to partner three eastern counties with three in the west in case an earthquake hits the New Madrid fault zone.

David Maxwell, director of the state Department of Emergency Management, announced the program in early August but said the state hadn't yet paired counties.  Today, Maxwell's office said Crittenden County will be paired with Washington, Mississippi County with Benton County and Poinsett with Clark.

The western counties...Benton, Clark and Washington, would provide rapid-response teams to their partners in the eastern half of the state.  The pairings were set based on similiarities in population and available resources.  If the pilot project works, other counties could be added.

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