Better to be safe than sorry

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - So far this hurricane season we've been lucky, but as we all know, this is the time when things really start to heat up in the tropics.

It is also a time when we all have to ask ourselves one very important question, "Am I prepared?"

That is exactly what Emergency Management Agencies are doing across the state.

Rupert Lacey said, "We're dusting the plan off. We're making sure that as a city or county government, we're ready for whatever may come our way."

This is the time of year when Emergency Management directors like Rupert Lacy look over their disaster plans and watch threats like Irene, closely.

He said, "Of course we are starting to go up that peak of hurricane season and over the weekend like a lot of people, we were watching the progress of this storm and coming across the Atlantic."

Lacy doesn't think Irene should cause Harrison County much trouble, but the Emergency Operations command center sits ready and waiting.

"We could see as many as 150 people in here working during a big storm."

And they are more prepared to protect the public than they were before and during Katrina. That monster storm showed them what they could do better like beefing up communications.

"We have redundancy, the MISS WIN system. We've got back up communications to talk to neighboring counties; we have of course some satellite radios."

Although they're well prepared to get Harrison County through it's next disaster, they can't do it alone.

"The first 72 hours is on the individual and their family, taking care of your loved ones. We have learned through experience, not once but several times that the federal government will come to help, but you've got to help yourself up front," Lacey said. "If you haven't done your hurricane preparations now, you need to."

Go to our Hurricane Center for a detailed hurricane disaster plan and a list of things you may need during and after a storm. There you will also find a free family registry and locator service along with evacuation routes, road information and live radar that tracks any and all storms.

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