Hurricane Katrina claimed the lives of two people in Ocean Springs. Both were senior citizens.
"They elected to stay, and they were in an area that was hard hit by the storm surge. It's just sad to say if they had evacuated, they probably could have went back and built their homes and carried on with their lives. They lost their lives because they stayed behind," said Capt. Louie Miller of the Ocean Springs Police Department.
Emergency officials at the meeting say the elderly are especially vulnerable when hurricanes and other devastating storms hit. Many have a hard time leaving their homes, but officials say it's imperative to have an evacuation plan and follow through, should a storm threaten the area.
"If they don't have an evacuation plan, and we feel that they're in harm's way, we'll do everything we can to get them out. But once it's too late, we can go out there afterwards. And sometimes that means going out during the storm to try to get them, so sometimes that puts us in a dangerous situation," said Lt. Kevin Sharpe with the Ocean Springs Fire Department.
Butch Loper is Jackson County's Director of Emergency Management. He urges senior citizens to fill up on their medications and have a ten day supply on hand should a storm threaten the Gulf.
"We ran into many, many instances after the storm where people didn't have insulin, and they ran out of insulin. So we had to send people out of the county, even out of the state, to try to solve those issues for people," Loper said.
Loper says many senior citizens stayed behind to be with their pets during Katrina. Last year, a pet shelter was set up at the Vancleave Vocational Center. That means people can take their pets with them to that shelter should a storm hit.