Jackson County Residents Prepare For Hurricane Season

"Hurricane evacuation maps," asks Andrea Sullivan of Ocean Springs. "We didn't have this last year when we needed it."

Sullivan says she and her family were uninformed and alone during Hurricane Katrina.

"I was really disappointed being that we were new people to the community and didn't have any idea what we were getting into. We were out in that storm that evening and we asked several people should we leave or what."

This year, she and others like her are getting those answers early.

"They're taking all the precautions, I believe," says FEMA Public Affairs Officer Marvin Davis. "We're getting a lot of feedback. People are preparing to evacuate if they need to. So it looks like they taking it very seriously, as they should."

Singing River Mall and WLOX-TV sponsored "The Gulf Coast Remembers and Prepares" to help people do just that.

"Everybody at this point in time after last year is just stressed out," says Jackson County Civil Defense Director Butch Loper. "So this just gives everybody a chance to find out some good information, see some of the displays of local art and enjoy themselves inside a nice air conditioned facility."

"What do you do when a hurricane comes," WLOX Chief Meteorologist Mike Reader asks a group of Boy Scouts.

"You run and hide," answers one.

He's right. Emergency management officials are stressing that people remember to run from the water, and hide from the wind.

Shoppers also got the chance to win something every hurricane veteran prizes - a generator.

"Yes, I'm going to win that one," says a hopeful Liz Martin of Gulfport.

But a generator is only as good as its owners attention to detail and planning.

"We got a lot of use out of ours last year, until we ran out of gas," says an elderly Gulfport man. "Then we had trouble finding gas, but this year we're going to be ready."

That's a vow most everyone who experienced Katrina is making.

"It was a plight," says Andrea Sullivan. "I'm glad it's over with, but we're here to stay."