Scott County Commission hears about new courthouse security procedures

Friday, January 28, 2011

BENTON, Mo. -- Amber Scudder, emergency management director for Scott County, presented an updated emergency plan for the courthouse to county commissioners during their regular meeting Tuesday.

One significant addition to the plan is emergency codes for the courthouse.

Emergency codes were originally used by hospitals to alert staff to various emergency situations and quickly convey that information while reducing the chance of stress or panic among patients.

While the courthouse does not have a public address system, the phone system does have an intercom system that can be used to call the codes, according to county officials.

"A lot of the businesses and hospitals around here all go by the same code system," Scudder said.

By using that same code, courthouse officials will be able "to alert all in-house employees as well as anybody else here who can help with the situation if they are advised of it."

Scudder said color codes will be used for a range of emergencies including fires, earthquakes, medical emergencies and bomb threats, among others.

In addition to the color codes, "there is also 'Code Adam' which is for a missing or abducted child," she added. "There was never a plan of action [included in the county emergency plan] if there ever was a missing child or an abducted child."

Scudder said she is also looking over all the posted evacuation routes at the courthouse to "make sure they are all hanging where they are supposed to be hanging."

Also updated will be the list of those responsible for each floor and each office during evacuations as there have been some personnel changes.

Commissioners agreed to review the plan for approval.

In other business Tuesday:

* New signs at courthouse entrances advising there is no smoking or weapons allowed at the courthouse need to be posted, Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger said.

Signs had been attached to the window glass which was replaced.

* Burger asked County Clerk Rita Milam to contact the company which hosts the county's website to arrange a meeting on Feb. 8 or Feb. 10.

"What we're trying to do is manage and update our website in house," Burger said. He added that the plan is for each office to be responsible for their portion of the website.

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