Topeka, Shawnee Co. Send Help To Reading

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Shawnee County Commissioners authorized departments to assist both Reading, Kansas and Joplin, Missouri.

Topeka and Shawnee County already have nearly 20 people offering mutual aid in Reading. Emergency Management Director Dave Sterbenz says the group includes four Topeka Police officers, the Capital Area Animal Response Team, operations and communications staff... and public works staff. City of Topeka employees from Water Services, Water Pollution Control and Street Maintenance and Traffic Operations also are on hand.

In addition, Sterbenz says the team brought heavy equipments, such as loaders and dump trucks, to assist with cleanup. He says some teams members are working with the Northeast Regional Incident Command Group to coordinate response, while others are working to clear debris that is still blocking roads.

Sterbenz expects their deployment to last through Wednesday.

Commissioner Vic Miller says he has no problem offering county workers to assist as mutual aid, with no reimbursement, in Reading. He says it could just as easily have been Topeka hit Saturday night, or could be Topeka in the future, and the favor would be returned.

As for Joplin, since it is out-of-state, the county might be able to get reimbursement from FEMA for any help sent there. Right now, Mission Township Fire's technical rescue team is on alert for possible deployment to assist the search and rescue efforts in Joplin.