Barbour Says Hurricane Evacuations Will Take Sacrifices

Protecting people this hurricane season will be a bigger challenge, but it's one the Governor says emergency managers must meet.

Governor Haley Barbour opened the state's emergency management conference in Biloxi on Monday. He promised the state will do all it can to keep South Mississippians safe. But, he admits, the necessary actions won't always be popular.

Thousands of South Mississippians have put all they have left in a FEMA trailer. Leaving it behind won't be easy. Governor Barbour says he understands that feeling, but it's a sacrifice people will have to make if a hurricane threatens the coast.

"It's against the law to take those travel trailers when you evacuate and it's a good reason it's against the law. They are not sturdy on the road. Ad if one breaks down, wrecks or whatever, tens of thousands of people can be trapped."

The Governor also told emergency officials that many people are now without transportation and the state will have to help bus them out. Evacuation orders will come sooner this year, and places far from the coast will feel the impact.

"We don't have that many buses in Mississippi. If we're going to have a lot more people to evacuate then we're going to have to get buses from somewhere and the most obvious choice is the school districts... we might have to go to school districts that are well to the north of here. The local school districts may not have enough buses. We're not going to leave people done here unable to get out."

Barbour says some people lost their lives by underestimating Katrina's destructive force. He urged emergency responders to educate the public so no one lets their guard down ever again.

"I promise you before too long we'll be dealing with hurricane fatigue again," said Barbour. "I don't expect it will be the first one, but it will come again. We need you to be the people who infect your community with the attitude of preparation and preparing to execute the plan.  Knowing the plan. Drilling the plan. Just having the plan will put you in the position of being able to do what has to when the time comes to get it done."

Governor Barbour says MEMA will have a drill to test out its hurricane evacuation plan around the middle of the month.