Hinds County: Sirens Update; Emergency Funding


The Hinds County Board of Supervisors consider better sirens.

Hinds County Director of Emergency Operations Jimmie Lewis told county supervisors today that 100 percent of the county's sirens activated during a test on June 1.

Lewis appeared before the Hinds County Board of Supervisors this morning at the request of District 5 Supervisor and board president George Smith. He gave an update on the county's application for StormReady, a program of the National Weather Service that helps communities strengthen emergency services. StormReady serves 1,753 communities in 48 states and provides communities with emergency education and planning.

Lewis said that to apply, he must conduct an inventory of all the county's emergency vehicle sirens.

"First, we need to get them all down and decide what is working, what is not working and what we need to spend money on," he told the board.

The application process requires counties to submit information about its reception equipment, local weather monitoring equipment, local warning dissemination and community preparedness.

The county's siren situation came to light last August when District 4 Supervisor Phil Fisher presented a report showing that 27 of the county's 57 warning sirens failed to sound during a monthly test in July 2010.

At this morning's meeting, Smith said board members would suggest two additional proposed sites to install sirens at an upcoming board meeting.

The board approved Lewis to serve as the applicant agent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In that role, Lewis will apply for funds for storm clean up due to this spring's tornadoes. The board also approved the position of a county emergency management specialists and an emergency management maintenance technician.

Red Cross Requests Additional Funds

Representatives from the American Red Cross requested additional funds from the Hinds County Board of Supervisors this morning to help shore up funds to assist victims recovering from the recent rash of floods and tornados in the state.

The county typically allocates $4,000 each fiscal year to the American Red Cross, and this morning, Mississippi American Red Cross CEO Sandra Hodge appealed to the board to provide $6,000 to $8,000 for the next fiscal year. County budget requests are due today and budget hearings begin in August.

Supervisors did not indicate if they could approve the request for the next fiscal year, which starts in October.

Joan Marie Kaye, director of business development for Mississippi American Red Cross, said the ARC helps at least one family per week in the county affected by house fires. Last year, the ARC spent $180,000 assisting Hinds County residents recovering from fires and natural disasters.

"There has been a lot of natural disasters this past year and now with the floods, we are just about depleted," Hodges said.

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Also to add: No Hinds County redistricting. It was probably an oversight.



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