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Hurricane Preparedness A Reminder for All Disasters

By Rhonda Miller | Published 04 Jun 2012 05:21pm | comments

This is Hurricane Preparedness Week in Mississippi. But as MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports, emergency leaders at a conference in Biloxi are examining preparations for all disasters, including tornadoes and floods.

Mississippi emergency managers say the state has stronger buildings and better plans after learning the hard lessons of Hurricane Katrina, the Smithville tornado and the Mississippi River flooding.   But Executive Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Robert Latham says being prepared begins at home.

"Citizens have to take the time and responsibility to sit around the dinner table, talk with their children, their spouses, their relatives, their friends, their neighbors about the kind of things they can do to make sure they’re prepared. And then government should be there to help those that can’t help themselves."

Smithville residents take disaster warnings seriously after a tornado  last year ravaged the town and killed 16 people. Donna Sanderson is deputy director of emergency management for Monroe County, which includes Smithville.

"When we set off our sirens, a lot of them would not pay attention to the sirens, you know a thunderstorm. Now with the sirens, everyone gets in their storm shelters. Smithville is a ghost town now when a storm comes through. Everybody hides."

And while residents in Smithville have been listening to warnings and building storm shelters, Sanderson says human nature can never predict Mother Nature.

"You’re never prepared. As many classes as you take, you go to every one of them, and you think you’re ready, you’re never ready, cause every storm’s different."

The emergency managers conference continues tomorrow, and rolls right into the Gulf States Hurricane Conference,  which runs through Friday.






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