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Mississippi’s Emergency First Responders Get Hands on Experience

By Daniel Cherry | Published 29 Mar 2011 05:05pm | comments

Over the past decade inclement weather, six major hurricanes and two tropical storms accounted for 14.9 billion dollars of insured property loss in Mississippi. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how some of Mississippi's emergency first responders are staying prepared for the worst.

A recent report from Kiplinger magazine says Mississippi is ranked 5th for states most at risk of a disaster. James Lee, Director of Operations for the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, says severe weather is only part of what they prepare for.

"Tornadoes, that's our worst threat right now, but the other thing that concerns me is anything could go wrong: a power break, a gas line explodes in an oil tank. Any of those things could go wrong at any time. We have to have an all hazard all response approach."

That's why Homeland Security is working with first responders across the state.

"There's no one way to prepare for anything but there is one way to be prepared for anything and that is to train, to exercise, and to train some more."

Emergency responders trained in Jackson on Tuesday. They simulated the aftermath of a tornado in Downtown Jackson.

"We have a report that we have a collapsed structure with people on the inside so that's what we're responding to right now", says R.D. Simpson, the Chief of Training for the Jackson Fire Department. He says this is a necessary supplement to their classroom lessons.

"It gives us an opportunity to see areas that we might need to do more training in. It gives us also the opportunity to perform it before it happens."

Emergency officials say the effects can be lessened if people have a plan and get prepared before disaster strikes. Daniel Cherry...MPB News. 

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