“Katrina sort of put us all on hold during that time. There were trees down everywhere, there was a lot of structural damage, people were sort of just blocked in for a while.” -Scott Spears, Dir., LEMA
While today marks thirteen years that Hurricane Katrina hit, the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency is reflecting on what Katrina taught them and how things have changed.
Spears says, “training has changed a lot since Katrina. Probably back in those days, agencies would train within themselves. Now, agencies train together. The fire department trains with the police department, the police department trains with emergency management. So, we do inner-agency training, we do county to county training, and we do state to state training.”
Spears says before Katrina, most businesses, emergency services buildings, and even one hospital in the Meridian area, did not have backup generators. He says that now they have learned everyone needs more than a week’s worth of supplies in order to survive.
“You should always be prepared whether it’s a hurricane or a tornado or a thunderstorm. At any time we could be without power for a week again. So, it’s always good to be prepared and have your flashlights, batteries, medications, cash on hand, and non-perishable food on hand.” -Spears
With the blended training that occurs now, Spears says they know what each agency is capable of and what supplies area counties have. He says being protected from hurricanes should be treated like tornadoes in the sense of getting to a low area with now windows.