A Homeland Security grant will help the state plan for evacuations. Ryan Sugden with the state Office of Justice Assistance says the federal grant money will better prepare Wisconsin in the event of a disaster that requires mass evacuations. "In Madison in particular, one population they'll be looking at is special needs populations," explains Sugden. "A template will be developed, specific to Dane County and Rock County, for those populations. That template will be added to a state template that get's distributed to all of the counties."
The planning will not only be concerned with evacuations within Wisconsin: Sugden says it will include what needs to happen here in the event of a major evacuation outside the state, for example in Chicago or the Twin Cities. "What facilities would we have, what would be our transportation routes, to house a large number of evacuees from out of state," he says.
The federal grant money – $80,000 in the case of Dane County – will fund three limited term positions to improve the mass evacuation plans for the 12 largest metropolitan areas in Wisconsin.