Forrest Count Emergency Management officials are working with county supervisors and Hattiesburg City Council members to put a five-year Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan in place.
Glen Moore, Forrest County Emergency Management director, presented the 2017 updates to council members Monday. The plan includes emergency response procedures for disasters ranging from tropical storms and hurricanes to chemical spills.
"Unfortunately, we've gotten a lot of practice in the past five years with working a natural disaster," Moore said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared three federal disasters in Moore's district in the past five years - two for tornadoes in 2013 and 2017 and one for flooding in March 2016.
"Our EOC has been extremely important with Katrina, with the two tornadoes, with some of the flooding," said Carter Carroll, Hattiesburg City Council president. "This is where we all band together, whether it's the county, the city, the city of Petal. We all get together, and we're under one force. They drive us and make sure we're all on the same page, and we're not duplicating efforts."
Carroll said FEMA requires the city to have a plan, but he and Moore agree having one in place that many people are familiar with helps speed up disaster response.
"We've got a plan for everything as to when we ask the governor for assistance, and it's just a plan where everyone knows what's going on," Carroll said. "All of our directors are familiar with it."
Moore said, "It's actually been worked a good bit in the last five years."
Moore said the plan was due for renewal in June 2017 regardless, but with tropical development in the Gulf of Mexico likely heading toward south Mississippi, he and Carroll said now is the time to have procedures in place.
"There's two tropical systems in the Gulf, so stay tuned to your email, I guess, is what I'm trying to say," Moore said to council members Monday.
Carroll said, "It's the time to make sure that we have all of our ducks in a row, and we're making our plans."
Both council members and Forrest County Supervisors are set to sign off on the plan at their meetings Tuesday. If they approve it, Moore said he hopes to have it sent to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency by the end of the week.