County to update disaster plan

News editor | January 9, 2021 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Bonner County is updating its all-hazards emergency operations plan.

Bonner County commissioners approved on Tuesday a $17,125 professional services contract with Welch Resources to update the county's 2009 disaster and evacuation plan.

Bob Howard, director of Bonner County Emergency Management, told commissioners the project's cost is being funded through an Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security grant.

"There's no county match," said Howard.

After the board's meeting, Howard said the plan is a blueprint for coordinating firefighters, law enforcement and other emergency responders during natural disasters such as floods, wildfires and other calamities. It also contemplates evacuation plans in the event of a disaster.

"Every evacuation is different," Howard said.

Howard said the overhaul will also see input from a local planning committee.

The county's various emergency response plans are routinely updated to take in the latest information and adopt current response standards.

The county, with various other agencies, developed a Geographic Response Plan in 2017 to address hazardous material and fuel spills in the event of a train derailment in Bonner County. The plan also addresses response strategies if a derailment threatens local waterways.

Howard said the GRP will be updated, although the novel coronavirus has slowed some of the plan updates.

"We review all plans on a regular basis," said Howard.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached at or followed on Twitter @KeithDailyBee