Is Leon County Ready for a Catastrophe?

The Florida Department of Emergency Management says the main problem they say they run into after a disaster is uninformed county and city leaders, so it was hats off to Leon County commissioners for calling this workshop.

This was a three-hour session for commissioners and responding agencies to get up to date on whose role is what in a disaster.

A big concern brought up by several commissioners and the sheriff is the need for a joint dispatch and emergency operations center.

Larry Campbell, Leon County Sheriff, says, "We need a command center where everybody comes to, where everybody does the function they're supposed to do, perform, and we do it coordinated for the good of the community, not somebody's politics."

Tom Coe, City of Tallahassee Assistant City Manager for Safety and Neighborhood Services says, "It comes down to three issues: where it's going to be located, who's going to operate it and how it's going to be funded, and that's usually where the discussion is stopped."

County Commissioner Ed Depuy and City Commissioner Debbie Lightsey are working on a study on this issue and will be bringing their findings to the prospective commissions.

Three hours wasn't enough time for all of the concerns to be addressed and issues covered, so a part two of this workshop will be called in the near future.

In the event of a category four or five storm, more than 61,000 people would have to be evacuated from Leon County, so that demand will be looked at.