Public safety officials prepare for frigid temperatures

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It is something South Mississippi is not used to: freezing temperatures and icy roads. But Harrison County officials are prepared.

"MDOT is coming in to lay down salt, and then after that... depending on the rain event and sleet event, then they will come in and put sand down also," Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy said.

"Emergency responders are all on standby. A lot of shifts are now being bumped up as we go into this."

As the temperatures drop and conditions become dangerous on the roads, officials are asking everyone who can to stay off the roads.

"Do not drive unless you have to. It's real simple. Just stay at home," Harrison County Supervisor Kim Savant said. "If you have to go to work, be careful going to work. Be cautious on the roadways."

"Use good common sense," Lacy said. "If you have to travel, leave early. Give yourself plenty of time. Watch the other drivers, and then drive extremely slow."

Coast Transit Authority will be running fixed routes as long as the weather permits, so that could be another option for those who need to go to work.

While staying in and staying warm is the best advice, fire officials urge caution.

"Just last night we had a tragic story of a family burning themselves out of their home using a space heater improperly," said Gulfport Fire Chief Michael Beyerstedt

If for some reason the power goes out, seek shelter at a friend's home or go to one of the area shelters.

"If you have a fireplace you can keep a fire going in your fireplace and that would probably keep it warm enough you will be able to survive through this," Beyerstedt said.

Keep in mind the icy conditions are also difficult for first responders to navigate through. That's why it's extremely important to make good decisions so they don't have to risk their lives to save yours.

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