Red Cross Workers Making Sure They're Ready This Hurricane Season

"Being prepared," that's the goal of a series of disaster readiness excercises put together by the American Red Cross.

According to Hurricane expert Dr. William Gray we could see as many as 15 tropical storms this year, eight hurricanes, four of which, could be classified as major meaning a category three or above.

With that in mind relief workers with the Jackson County chapter of the Red Cross were put to the test Saturday to see if they know the proper procedures if and when a hurricane strikes our area.

"We had a bad problem here and were going to need law enforcement to cover 200 people for five days at the fair grounds," says a Red Cross worker participating in Saturday's exercise.

Making the appropriate calls to police is only one of the exercises relief workers participated in as they prepare for the 2005 hurricane season.

"We learn so much about who were are right now who we need to be in the future and what we need to get to that point," says Paige Roberts, executive director of the Red Cross in Jackson County.

Roberts, along with other Red Cross workers are holding a three day session this weekend on disaster readiness.

"The more knowledgeable we are about our needs about our resources about our selves as first responders the more powerful we are and that is our goal," Roberts said.

Hurricane Ivan hit Jackson County especially hard last year, leaving behind some serious damage.

Event organizers hope training sessions like this one will help soften the blow if another Hurricane hits South Mississippi.

"We want to make sure they are communicating the message out there to the community that they are ready to respond," says Chapter Solutions Manager Ellen Noble.

In addition to more communication, emergency officials also want to make sure they have more shelters for those forced from their homes.

"We have increased the number of shelters in George county to 11 and the number in George county to eight we have more than tripled the number in Jackson county and tripled the number in George county," Roberts said.

Roberts says the training they receive here will prove invaluable should South Mississippi become a target again this tropical season.

"The knowledge that we gain from this will benefit the community 10 fold if not more," she said.

Red Cross workers will meet again Sunday to evaluate their performance during Saturday's training excercises.