Civil defense needs more space

Published 12:45 am Monday, November 5, 2007

NATCHEZ — Civil Defense Director George Souderes told the Adams County Board of Supervisors just how badly his agency needs a storage facility.

At their Oct. 31 meeting, Souderes said the greatest need facing the Adams County Civil Defense-Emergency Management Agency is a lack of a storage facility for all the agencies equipment.

The equipment is currently housed at several locations around town including a fire station and the port.

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“We need one place for everything,” Souderes said.

Souderes said the $15,000 his department recently received from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency would not come close to covering the cost for a new facility.

MEMA gave the money to Adams County as way to disperse the agency’s excess cash.

Souderes said he did not think that amount could even pay for a slab to be poured.

But right now Souderes is not being picky about the facility; he says he simply needs one.

In the event of an emergency, Souderes said, valuable time would be lost in gathering equipment.

Souderes said that time could be better spent giving aid or assisting in rescues.

“We need to be ready for any type of emergency,” he said.

And while Souderes said his department is ready for any type of emergency, time spent gathering gear is time lost on the response.

Generators, boats, all terrain vehicles and hazmat gear are all spread across the county.

Sheriff Ronny Brown also voiced concern in this matter because his deputies and Souderes’ department often share equipment.

Brown said that a lack of a centralized storage location has even resulted in one deputy housing a four-wheeler at his own home.

“It’s something we could all use,” Brown said. Brown echoed Souderes’ idea when he said that time spent gathering equipment could be much better spent in a rescue effort.

But Souderes, Brown and supervisor S.E. “Spanky” Felter are exploring some possible storage solutions.

Brown and Souderes have discussed a plan that would allow land to be used near the sheriff’s office shooting range. However that would require actual construction of a building.

Felter thinks he has a more immediate solution.

Felter said he would be talking to Rentech about possible storage solutions.

Felter said Rentech has currently unused facilities that would be ideal for the county’s needs.

However Rentech has yet to develop their new plant on the site of the old International Paper facility.

“We need to do something,” he said. “We have equipment scattered everywhere.”

Souderes also said a unified facility would make equipment inventory and maintenance much easier.

Souderes said his time could be better spent if all the equipment were in one spot.