Supervisors want to look at plan recommendations

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Supervisors directed Civil Defense Director George Souderes to look at the recommendations for changing the county&8217;s emergency response plan at Monday&8217;s board of supervisors meeting.

President Darryl Grennell recommended involving representatives from the Baton Rouge-based company, IEM, and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, among others, in discussions about updating the plan.

Kathy Stephens, director of the local United Way, said the United Way had a contract with IEM for three stages. The first two &8212; researching and presenting recommendations for changes to the plan and for training &8212; have been completed.

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The third stage, tabletop meetings between agencies involved in emergency response, has yet to be completed.

Under the contract, the United Way has to finish the discussions by the end of August.

&8220;It would be of great use if we could have basic updates &8212; the number of shelters, the number of feeding stations &8212; before the meeting,&8221; Stephens said.

Souderes said this was the first he had heard of a tabletop discussion. He said he had wanted to update the county&8217;s plan for years but could not do so because he had not received updates from MEMA.

&8220;The plan I have is very, very workable,&8221; Souderes said.

Souderes said he had handwritten notes in his copy of the plan of changes that needed to be made.

&8220;If only you have it, how are the rest of us supposed to function?&8221; Stephens said. &8220;We got a well-qualified person to tell us what we needed to do. Our concern was the safety of the community.&8221;

Supervisor Henry Watts said he was worried about making things happen as soon as possible.

&8220;What&8217;s making me uneasy is no one seems concerned we have a timeline with people&8217;s lives at stake,&8221; Watts said. &8220;We&8217;re in the middle of hurricane season.&8221;

Souderes will talk with the board again after he reviews the recommendations.