FEMA study group discusses preparedness - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

FEMA study group discusses preparedness

Mention disaster on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and hurricanes likely come to mind. And it didn't take long for this luncheon group to begin sharing lessons learned from Katrina. (Photo source: WLOX) Mention disaster on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and hurricanes likely come to mind. And it didn't take long for this luncheon group to begin sharing lessons learned from Katrina. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Learning more about disparities in emergency preparedness. That's one goal of a FEMA study group, which helped organize a discussion in Gulfport on Thursday.

"We have weathered 21 major, declared disasters; as opposed to the national average of 12," said group leader Kathy Egland, who facilitated the discussion.

Mention disaster on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and hurricanes likely come to mind. And it didn't take long for this luncheon group to begin sharing lessons learned from Katrina.

"The other thing I remember about Katrina was the importance of being able to text. Because people could not call us on the land lines. But we were able to communicate with family," said Patricia Barnes.

"Preparation is key. And that's what we're doing tonight. Because when an event actually happens, you have to refer back to your training," said Harrison County Supervisor Kent Jones.

"I think it should be mandatory through HUD that people in low income attend readiness classes. Because they're mostly the ones that don't, if they see an alert go off on their phone, they don't pay attention to it," said Bishop Anthony Thompson.

You may recall, Katrina began roaring ashore on a Sunday.

"And I had many of the pastor’s numbers and I asked them, please do not open church today. If you open church today, all the work we have done is going to be lost. Because if you open the house of God, they're coming," said Gulfport City Council Member Ella Holmes-Hines.

Many in the group mentioned mainstream and social media as their sources of information when disaster threatens. But Warren White had one more suggestion.

"And at night, when you go to sleep, then what?  I depend on my NOAA radio. It's going to wake you up, it's going to alert you ahead of time. And I would recommend everyone have a NOAA radio," said White.

Participants in the study filled out a questionnaire about disaster preparedness and recovery. The information will be given to FEMA's community preparedness team, to assist in future storm warnings and recovery.        

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