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MEMA encouraging preparation during 2021 hurricane season

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 2:06 PM CDT
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HARRISON COUNTY, Mississippi (WLOX) - Boats washed ashore along the Coast are visual and structural scars still in place seven months after Hurricane Zeta roared inland.

“You start to wonder should I do it, should I not do it?”

Danny Pitalo spoke about moving his bait and tackle shop trailer at Point Cadet in Biloxi. In 2020, he had to roll off the dock five times because of storm threats, and then Zeta came calling.

“I said we’ve moved it five times. Let’s go ahead and move it one more time to be safe, and we ended up with 11 feet of water right here, so we’re glad we moved it,” Pitalo said.

Mississippi’s Emergency Management Agency is moving 2021 emergency guides all around the state to local EMA offices. Their first stop is Harrison County, and at each destination, the plan of being prepared is also delivered.

“Our big message this year is that the first 72 is on you,” said Malary White, MEMA external affairs director. “That means the first 72 hours are on you to take care of our family. What that means is we want you to have at least 72 hours’ worth of food and water.”

D’Iberville Fire Chief Gerald Smith likes that plan, especially since he and his crews had to answer several emergency calls during the height of Zeta.

“Everybody needs to heed the warnings that are out there,” Smith said. “Believe it or not, in the middle of a hurricane, we had to respond to vehicle accidents to help people, and that’s a time they definitely shouldn’t be out on the roads.”

The hope is the road into the 2021 hurricane season won’t be full of storms or storm threats, but if it is a 2020 repeat, the message stays the same.

“We want people to be as prepared as they can,” White added

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