Report: Largest Wisconsin Counties Can't Handle Major Catastrophe

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A new state report says Wisconsin's most populated counties aren't prepared to handle a large scale catastrophe.

Three weeks ago, Governor Doyle asked Wisconsin National Guard Major General Al Wilkening to review the state's preparedness plans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Wilkening is Wisconsin's homeland security adviser.

Wilkening found the counties' emergency plans are adequate for small- to medium-sized incidents, but can't accommodate a major catastrophe. That's defined as an evacuation of more than ten-thousand people. Eau Claire County is about 100,000 people.

The governor also asked Wilkening to review plans for evacuating poor neighborhoods, hospitals and nursing homes.

The report found counties and municipalities must do a better job of identifying nursing homes and other specialized care facilities to make sure none are missed in the event of evacuation.

The report examined emergency plans in counties with the state's 12 largest cities: Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, Racine, Appleton, Waukesha, Oshkosh, Eau Claire, West Allis, Janesville and La Crosse