GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Harrison County leaders are getting ready for what they project to be an active hurricane season.
With the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Camille approaching in August, it’s a reminder to emergency officials that its never too early to develop a safety plan.
“It’ll only take one storm to change our lives," said Harrison County Public Information Officer Jeff Clark.
Rupert Lacy, Harrison County Emergency Management Director, spoke to department heads on Thursday, stressing their role in keeping residents safe. Lacy touched on ways officials can make sure their agencies are hurricane-ready, from rescheduling employees to securing buildings.
“They’ve got to be ready because once we go to work, we’re at work," said Lacy.
County leaders are expected to be hands on during extreme weather events. That’s why Lacy says before they buckle down to work, they should prepare their own homes while there is still time.
“Forty-eight hours, we’re already possibly under watches.. and when we have watches, we’re already operational; we’re engaged," said Lacy.
If disaster strikes this hurricane season, emergency officials will gather in a large conference room, which will become the EMA’s homebase where all the details of rescue and recovery are worked out. In the meantime, they want the public to remember three key points: revisit, refresh and prepare.
“Is your insurance up to date? Do you take medication? If so, what is your medication plan? Do you have pets? What are you going to do about those?" said Lacy, naming off some key questions people should ask themselves.
During extreme weather, first responders and emergency officials often stay at work until things are secure, putting their own personal needs on the back burner.
“I’ve done this, personally forget about what I had to do at home, then I’ve had to go back and fix things which is a little bit more hard on us," said Lacy.
He said Thursday’s planning meeting is the first step in putting hurricane plans in motion so everyone in Harrison County can be prepared.
“The more we prepare now, the more while it is good weather, the better hopefully we will be once a storm happens," said Lacy.
Harrison County officials say one of the fastest ways to find updates about hurricane season is by following social media pages of local law enforcement, as well emergency management pages and local media.