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Lafayette emergency management encourages residents to be prepared

Lafayette County Emergency Management works to ensure Oxford is prepared for weather disasters, but its staff can’t do all the work.

 

Lafayette County Emergency Management works to ensure Oxford is prepared for weather disasters, but its staff can’t do all the work. 

David Shaw, director of Lafayette County Emergency Management, said residents need to take the initiative and should know how to prepare themselves for weather emergencies. 

Even though Oxford is not under the threat of disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes each year, Shaw said his team is always trying to prepare for the worst-case scenario. 

To prepare for emergencies, Shaw and his team are in charge of preparing and training the emergency services like fire, police and medical departments.

Even with the training, planning and equipment collection for a disaster, Shaw said his team will never know how bad things could possibly get. Accordingly, Shaw said he advises all citizens to be prepared as well.

“The department is always doing its best to be prepared for a disaster,” he said. “But in the case of an emergency, every citizen should know how to prepare and sustain until professional help arrives.” 

Shaw said there are small things that can make a big difference in being prepared, whether it is a weather radio or having a storm shelter built.

He said he uses a weather radio himself and that with a radio, citizens can know about the danger before any sirens go off.

Organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) also assist with preparation by helping families build small storm-proof structures.

For many situations, Shaw’s team and other teams like it prepare for storms by looking at past disasters to know how to handle unusual events like Hurricane Katrina and, more recently tornado that hit Abbeville. 

Stephen Wright, a senior from Brandon, said that even though Jackson is never first to get struck by a hurricane or tornado, he knows what to do in the cases of emergency. 

“Whether it is a tornado, flooding or icy roads, I feel like I’d be prepared,” he said. “My parents taught me a lot about safety in those types of situations.”

Some people will rely on other sources for information on disasters, though. Most on-campus students, for example, rely on sirens and services like “RebAlert.” 

“While it is good for the University to be trying to get information like this out to students, it can still be ineffective sometimes,” Wright said, “Sometimes texts take a while to reach everyone, or Internet and phone services can be down.” 

Wright said that because of this it is very important for people to know where to go and what to do during emergencies prior to them happening.

“During this time of year, I think we just have to worry more about cold and icy weather,” he said. “Just watch out for those patches of ice in the road when driving, and when you’re not driving just stay warm.” 

For safety and preparation tips check weather.gov/safety.php.