Jackson County Leaders Use Preps For Arlene As Learning Experience

While the rain fell heavily, the wind and the waters remained relatively calm in Jackson County as Arlene made landfall to the east.

Still, emergency and civil defense forces were ready for the worst.

"Had this become more of a threat, we were staffed, ready to go at 8 o'clock this morning to stand EOC up full scale," says Jackson County Civil Defense Director Butch Loper.

It's something plenty of experience has taught Jackson County Civil Defense Director Butch Loper in only his first year on the job.

"It's been challenged with an ice storm, a chemical fire, a train derailment, and a major hurricane so you know to me it hasn't been a dry run," says Loper. "It's been just a continuation of what already started when I first became Civil Defense Director for Jackson County."

But in that short time Loper is implementing improvements that he feels make a big difference in how they deal with such disasters.

"Next week we hope to put a wireless Internet system in so when other agencies come in with their laptops they will be able to access faster back to their agencies. Next year hopefully within my budget I'm trying to get a new phone system put in here to kind of get it up to speed and more modern," Loper said.

For now, Jackson County remains on alert for Arlene's remaining threat, flooding.

"We didn't do any mandatory evacuation. It's was voluntary in low lying areas and mobile homes," he added.

They also remain on alert for calls for help from those Arlene didn't miss.

"There's a lot of good inter local agreements and there's a lot of good EMAC agreements and depending on which agencies you go through to get the help, it's there, it's available," says Loper.