As the hurricane pummels the east coast, disaster officials here say the next one could always hit Mississippi.

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Mississippi Emergency Officials Taking Lessons from East Coast Disasters

By Daniel Cherry | Published 25 Aug 2011 07:12pm | comments

As the East Coast braces for hurricane Irene and deals with the aftermath of the recent earthquake, Disaster response officials here in Mississippi are making sure residents are prepared for disasters. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports on what Mississippians can do to protect themselves against catastrophes in this state.

Hurricane Irene is headed up the East Coast spawning evacuations from South Carolina to Connecticut. Rupert Lacey is the director of the Harrison County Emergency Management Agency. He says residents need to keep in mind, the next big storm could easily hit Mississippi.

"You don't know which one it's going to be. You just have to be ready for all of them. If you don't have a plan, do a plan. It's kind of like a fire drill. This is all hazard, be ready to put it into action when you need it."

One of the best ways residents can protect their valuables is to purchase homeowner's and flood insurance. Monique Kabitzke is with the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. She says one of the biggest mistakes those with insurance make is not securing their important phone numbers and policy information.

"If there's a hurricane and your papers aren't secured, they could be blown all over the place, and it's always good to have your policy and your information and your contact stuff and your stuff inventoried close by where you can access it."

Hurricanes aren't as common on the east coast, but neither are earthquakes. And both showed their full force this week. Mike Womack is the Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. He says with the New Madrid Fault lying close to Mississippi, there's a possibility the same could happen here.

"We're somewhat more likely, I would think, to have earthquakes here than in Virginia. The fact that we've now got an example of one in the eastern United States should demonstrate to everybody that the earthquake threat is real."

Regardless of what disaster might hit Womack says the best way to protect yourself is to have an emergency plan and practice it often.

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