Pearl River County EOC ready for next major disaster

Published 7:00 am Friday, June 22, 2018

In the case of a natural disaster like a hurricane, the Pearl River County Emergency Operations Center is prepared to protect and support local citizens.

Emergency Management Agency Director, Danny Manley said if a powerful hurricane was about to strike the area, there are several things that would be done to prepare. First, he said a state of emergency would be declared and the Emergency Operations Center would open and start preparations.

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Once a state of emergency was declared, Manley said citizens should start conducting individual preparations, such as boarding up homes and stocking up on necessary supplies. In addition, contraflow would begin as people from Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast started traveling north to evacuate. Manley said contraflow is a massive law-enforcement and traffic concern, so agencies across the county would have to be prepared to handle the situation.

Then, the county’s three shelters would begin opening to accommodate those who need a place to ride out the storm.

Immediately after the storm passes, the EOC would shift into high-gear. Manley said search and rescue teams would be sent out and the EOC would begin assessing damage caused by the storm.

After the severity of the damage was determined, he said the EOC would handle donations and debris removal to get life in the county back on track.

Around this time, if not before, Manley said outside agencies would begin assisting in relief efforts.

He said many of these agencies have 72-hour emergency operations, but many will stay for weeks, months or even years after a natural disaster to assist in the rebuilding effort.

Manley said from donations, to communications to outside help, everything is done through the Emergency Operations Center. That makes it easier to determine where specific donations need to be sent, and which area needs the most help.

People who need supplies after a natural disaster will be sent to fire stations across the county, which will be stocked with necessary supplies such as water.

Manley said most citizens live within a five-mile radius of a municipal or volunteer fire station, so fire stations are the best venues to set up relief efforts.

Manley said there is a MEMA app that can be downloaded that has extensive checklists regarding supplies that should be purchased and ways to prepare for a hurricane.

He said anyone who wants to know more about Emergency Operations can visit to find a variety of free, individual training courses.