SIOUX CITY | The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved a broad Woodbury County plan to reduce the impact of natural disasters.

FEMA requires local governments to have three plans -- for disaster response steps, limiting future disasters and recovery from incidents.

Woodbury County's disaster mitigation plan was recently approved by FEMA, Disaster and Emergency Services Director Gary Brown told the County Board on Tuesday.

The 700-page plan had been in the works since 2011 and won't need to be updated for five years, he said.

"This is a really good public health and safety mechanism," said County Board Chairman George Boykin, of Sioux City.

Brown said the plan aims to make homes and businesses less susceptible to damage from severe weather and other emergency incidents.

Homes near Holly Springs already have been moved out of a floodplain, and a tornado-safe building has been constructed at Brown's Lake, Brown said. In addition, 10,000 radios carrying severe weather warnings have been purchased for schools, businesses, nursing homes and child care centers.

Brown said the plan includes county entities that formerly had their own plans. He said combining all 15 county towns and six school districts makes for more seamless planning.

The Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council helped prepare the plan.

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County and education reporter

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