Stone County Disaster Preparedness Report
Upgrades, Improvements Accommodate Growing Community
“We hope to never experience another disaster like Katrina, but it’s comforting to know that Stone County stands ready to protect its citizens in the event of a major storm or other natural or man-made disaster.” – Dale Bond, President, Stone County Supervisors
Since Hurricane Katrina hit, entities vital to disaster preparedness in Stone Cojnty identified needs and made improvements and upgrades. The following represents reports from the Stone County Emergency Management Agency, Stone County Sheriff’s Department, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College at Perkinston, and Mississippi Power Co.
Stone County Emergency Management Agency
- The county upgraded its county fire and radio equipment by installing a new VHF 100-watt repeater and dipole antenna.
- Interoperable communication equipment (ACU1000) was acquired to connect others frequency radios.
- The county purchased 10 additional portable VHF and UHF radios.
- In addition to these upgrades, the county is upgrading the sheriff’s department from low band (UHF) to hi band (VHF) communication.
- The county is implementing a warning system to alert citizens to impending danger.
- Three warning sirens* placed near school campuses in Stone County provide severe weather and other danger-warning coverage for Stone Elementary, Stone Middle, Stone High and Perkinston Elementary and surrounding communities.
*The sirens will give students and school personnel adequate time to take protective measures to get to predetermined safe places in the school buildings, thus increasing the chance of saving lives. Residents surrounding the schools will have sufficient warning to find safe places. The warning sirens are high-powered systems with battery backup and two-toned activation. The sirens will be placed on 55-ft.-tall poles, and the warning signals will cover a one-mile radius.
Immediate Shelters Available
- Stone High School
- Stone Middle School
- Perkinston Elementary School.
Portable generators are designated each site.
Stand-Alone Shelters to be Constructed, Listed as Prioritized by Stone County
- 5,000-sq.-ft. shelter on Perkinston Elementary property
- 5,000-sq.-ft. shelter on Stone Elementary property
- 1,700-sq.-ft. shelter on Headstart property
- 5,000-sq.-ft. shelter on Stone Middle School property
- 3,300-sq.-ft. shelter on Stone High School property
Benefits of the Stand-Alone Shelters**
- Provide a safe shelter for evacuation for Stone County citizens.
- Provide safe shelter for citizens from other areas who must be evacuated from
- pending disaster.
- Give the citizens peace of mind about being safe from disasters.
- Provide a safe harbor for school students, faculty and staff from severe weather and other disasters.
- Give parents of students peace of mind knowing the students have a shelter designed to protect them from disaster during the school day.
- School officials would be able to exercise these buildings on a frequent basis at no cost to the county.
- The shelters can accommodate 2,000 people.
**These shelters will provide near absolute protection as described by FEMA. They will be constructed to maintain structural integrity in three-second bursts of 200-mph winds, as well as withstanding a missile impact test of a 15-pound 2 x 4 traveling horizontally at 100 mph. These shelters will be constructed to meet the FEMA design wind speed of 200 mph for community shelters in the Stone County area.
Stone County Sheriff’s Department, from Sheriff Mike Farmer
- Added two full-time deputies
- Added one full-time criminal investigator
- Added five new patrol cars
- Added a 3,000-gallon fuel tank to hold emergency fuel
- A new 5,000-square-foot building built to house 50 joint county/state inmates can be utilized for emergency purposes.
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Perkinston Campus, from Dr. Mary Graham
- Agreements are in place with numerous agencies to provide designated staging areas on the Perk campus during an emergency.
- MGCCC received a $1.7 million grant from the Mississippi Department of Health to renovate facilities and purchase backup generators on the Perkinston Campus and at the George County Center. These renovated facilities will house Special Needs Shelters in the event of an emergency and will be occupied by citizens designated by the Mississippi Department of Health as special needs Patients.
- MGCCC purchased CONNECTED, an emergency notification system that allows the college to text, e-mail and communicate with students and employees in the event of an emergency.
- The college relocated the campus’s emergency siren system in order to notify more individuals.
- Perkinston Campus has been certified as NIMS (National Incident Management System) compliant, which means that the college has developed an Emergency Response Plan and that its team members have been through all of the required NIMS training. This enables MGCCC to partner with local responders in the event of an emergency.
- The campus has backup generators on its wells.
Mississippi Power Co., from Tim Adam, Area Manager, Coast Local Towns
- Established a new Perkinston/Silver Run Substation to help with the growing demand in the south part of Stone County and as a backup for the Wiggins Substation.
- Added a new control building in the Wiggins Substation with state-of-the-art technology to improve reliability to customers in Stone County.
- Increased presence in Stone County by adding two new positions, a lead lineman and a lead journeyman, in the Wiggins office.
The county added a new, 7,300-square-foot health department building to be better prepared in an emergency for health care and environmental concerns.