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Gulf States Hurricane Conference Emphasizes Teamwork

By Rhonda Miller | Published 06 Jun 2012 07:19pm | comments
Mississippi Emergency Management Director Robert Latham, left, National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb and FEMA Response and Recovery Director Bill Carwile kick off the event at a press conference.

This is the first week of hurricane season and emergency leaders from across the region are in Biloxi for the Gulf States Hurricane Conference.  MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports the emergency experts says there’s safety in teamwork.

The collaboration begins with the National Hurricane Center in Miami tracking a storm. The center’s new director, Rick Knabb, says the mission is to put out the best forecast possible, so emergency managers can plan evacuations, if necessary.  

"The details of the forecasts and the warnings are supported, after those forecasts and warnings are issued, by direct communications with federal, state and local emergency managers. And we make sure that the forecast is completely understood. We can answer any questions they have. And then they use that information to make their decisions."

Even with advanced technology to forecast hurricanes, Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner says state leaders have to work together to make sure the public understands what to do when a disaster strikes.

"I think that in a world of social media today, that  we have to be very careful to coordinate and to more closely communicate what that message is going to be, where the public never gets scared that we don’t understand or know what we’re doing."

Especially since the catastrophic events of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Director Pat Santos says the Gulf Coast states have made tremendous strides in linking local, state and federal emergency responders.

"It’s about communication and the relationships that we have. We know that we can call  Mississippi or Alabama, and they can call Louisiana and we’re gonna be there with the resources that we need for our people, and that’s what it’s all about."

The hurricane conference continues through Friday.

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Mississippi Emergency Management Director Robert Latham, left, National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb and FEMA Response and Recovery Director Bill Carwile kick off the event at a press conference.


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