It's state hurricane preparedness week

By Colleen Donovan - bio | email

LAUREL, MS. (WDAM) - Starting June first, Pine Belt residents have another hurricane season to prepare for nearly five years after Katrina.

It was one of the worst natural disaster's in U.S. history. That storm taught people across the Gulf Coast region not to take hurricane warnings lightly.

Don McKinnon is the Executive Director of Jones County's Emergency Operations Center.

McKinnon said, "Most people are cognizant of hurricane season every year and by all means they definitely remember Hurricane Katrina. But it's a re-education process every year."

That is because new residents move into the Pine Belt all the time that have not lived through Katrina and the destruction it unleashed.

"Pay attention to what is going on. Take your precautions, protect yourself and your family. We can only tell you what's going on and warn you about what may happen. And at some point you have to take responsibility for yourself," said McKinnon.

Emergency officials like Beth Henson with the Pine Belt Red Cross suggest the public stock up now on supplies like extra water, non perishable food, and batteries for flashlights.

Having a means to secure outside items like lawn furniture is also helpful as is a family communications plan.

Henson said, "Listen every evening to see if there is anything going on out in the Gulf. Just keep yourself aware as far as what's going on with the weather."

Another concern with this upcoming hurricane season is the current oil crisis in the Gulf, and how a storm could potentially increase the effects of that accident.

Henson said the Red Cross is participating in a conference call Friday about what officials could expect if a hurricane hits the oil spill zone. The 2010 hurricane season ends November thirtieth.

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