The strength and intensity of Hurricane Katrina caught most everyone off guard on Aug. 29, 2005. Now two years later, are we better prepared for the next storm?
"I'm kind of conservative to say we're ready for another Katrina, but if we have another one, we're going to get through it," said David Sharp, director of Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency. "Are we a lot better prepared than a few years ago? I think so, yes."
Since Katrina, the city of Meridian and Lauderdale County have combined their emergency operation centers into the one building that has backup generators for power and can withstand an earthquake.
Additional radio consoles have been added and an improved weather alert and monitoring center have been added. Sharp said the one thing still lacking is a way to get out information to the public in a quicker and more organized manner.
"We have just purchased a portal through 3M Corporation and FM Alert which will allow us to send messages from this office right here to citizens throughout the county," Sharp said. "The city has also purchased a similar type software and it will allows us to get the information out quicker."
At the moment, the messaging system is still in the building and testing phase. Sharp said, with these changes and recent announcement that Lauderdale County is "StormReady", prove we are better prepared for the next storm.