Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hurricane preparedness

Mississippi residents should have noticed on their calendars that t 2011 hurricane season starts. While the area has been safe during the past five hurricane seasons; this is not the time to get pleased. As the latest tornado outbreaks have shown us, Mother Nature's furor can be deadly. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials also are predicting an "above-normal" 6-month season across the Atlantic Basin. In the years since Hurricane Katrina, officials across the Pine Belt have been busy making sure the area is better prearranged if a major storm should hit. From purchasing additional generators and equipment to eradicate debris from roadways to updating dispatch systems and emergency management plans, steps have been taken to try to ensure the type of conditions that followed Katrina can be avoided.

Wednesday also marks the deadline for completion of the Forrest County Community Shelter, a facility that will be able to house 800 to 1,000 people in case of a severe weather event. A similar shelter is under construction in Lamar County. But hurricane preparedness isn't just the responsibility of city and county officials. Residents need to make sure that they and their families are prepared. That includes everything from stocking up on food and water, putting together a first-aid kit that includes prescriptions your family members need to coming up with an evacuation route if needed. Although all is quiet in the Atlantic for now, it most likely won't be that way for much longer.