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Disaster Response Teams Prepare for Hurricane Season

By Daniel Cherry | Published 30 May 2012 07:44pm | comments

Hurricane season begins Friday, but emergency management agencies in Mississippi aren't waiting around to get ready. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how state disaster responders hope a simulated hurricane will prepare them for what might lie ahead.

At the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency's headquarters in Pearl, the control center buzzed with action as disaster response officials simulated a category 3 hurricane named Natasha.

Friday begins Phil Bryant's first hurricane season as Governor. Bryant says with all disasters he plans to take a hands on approach.

"Certainly I know the experts that are here. I will not stand in their way, but I will do all that I can to be one of the first on the scene. I'll be very active in emergency response when it comes to disasters."

When talking about hurricanes emergency responders like to say, "It's not a question of if, but when." Warren Miller, State Emergency Program Manager for the Red Cross says his people are ready to respond when the time comes.

"We're doing a lot of planning with our feeding partners, we're doing a lot of training with our volunteers. So right now we're confident that if called upon that we'll be in good shape to meet the needs of the citizens here in the State of Mississippi."

About 30 volunteer and state disaster response agencies took part in the simulation. MEMA Executive Director, Robert Latham, stresses government agencies are doing their part, but residents can protect their own lives by preparing at home.

"Have an evacuation plan, have a disaster supply kit. When you're asked to evacuate don't take a chance and say, 'I'll ride it out. I survived Katrina.' We lost a lot of people because they said they survived Camille."

Hurricane season runs through November 30th.

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