Phelps County officials continued their discussion of preparing for emergencies, with the county's emergency management director recommending the need for a public address (PA) system at the courthouse.
The issue of emergency preparedness was raised last week by the county commissioners after they heard about a bomb hoax, which was made at the Phelps County Regional Medical Center Medical Office Building June 4.
At Tuesday's commission meeting, Sandy North, Phelps County emergency management director, was invited to give her take on how the county can improve its emergency preparedness if a similar incident were to occur at the courthouse.
While the courthouse had a PA system when it was initially built, blown fuses in the system caused it to become inoperable.
While a fire alarm would notify both employees and the public in the courthouse of fires, it was noted that a PA system would be used to tell individuals in the courthouse exact directions to follow — whether it be to evacuate for a bomb scare or to seek shelter for a tornado or to report a missing child.
"We need something to tell exactly what's going on," said District One Commissioner Larry Stratman.
It was noted that while a mass notification system through office phones would notify offices in the courthouse, there would still need to be a way to communicate emergencies to the public areas.
Stratman noted that with a PA or intercom system, there would be no ongoing maintenance cost compared to if the county were to consider a reverse 911 alert system.
North also plans to review emergency plans with county courthouse employees.
In other business
•Also at Tuesday's commission meeting, Walter Snelson, county road superintendent, notified the commission that fuel and tires estimated at $4,407.40 were stolen from the county's shed on Fairground Road. District Two Commissioner Gary Hicks said the thefts ultimately hurt the county's ability to work on roads.
•In addition, all three commissioners agreed to use Burns and McDonald, of St. Louis, as an engineering consultant as the county applies for BEAP (Bridge Engineering Assistance Program) funds for a bridge replacement project on County Road 3620, just east of Private Drive 3625, east of St. James. It was noted there were no local consultants on a list approved by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) that commissioners could select.
• Commissioners approved awarding a bid to Pro Turf Excavating, of Rolla, in the amount of $1,800 to fix a sidewalk at the southwest corner of the courthouse. Pro Turf's bid was the lowest of three received.
• It was noted that bids for the county's certificates of deposit will be opened Thursday, June 27, at 10 a.m. The county's current CDs expire July 1.