Like most of the Gulf Coast states, Mississippi has experienced more than its fair share of natural disasters. The most notable of these is, of course, Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged New Orleans and Louisiana but also swamped large areas of Mississippi’s coast in 2005. Within the state 236 were confirmed dead and 67 missing as a result of Katrina, and almost $125 billion in damage occurred. Although Jackson, Hancock and Harrison counties experienced the greatest damage from the storm, 47 counties were declared disaster areas.
In 2010, ten residents of Mississippi were killed due to an unusually large number of tornadoes striking the state over a two-day period. Hundreds of homes and businesses in Mississippi were destroyed as the twisters swept through the southern and central portions of the state. The following year, 44 Mississippi counties were designated as disaster areas in response to a widespread drought that killed significant portions of the state’s corn, soybean and forage crops.
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How to Become an Emergency Management Professional in Mississippi
One of the most important positions in the emergency management field is that of logistics managers, who provide transport of materials and equipment critical to emergency response. Both the federal and state government have sections devoted to logistics in their emergency management agencies. The minimum requirements for these jobs include:
- Have a bachelor’s degree
- Knowledge of transportation plans and organizational elements
- Ability to effectively communicate with state and federal personnel
- Ascertain transportation requirements and objectives, and allocate necessary vehicles and/or personnel
- Provide advice on logistical issues
- Implement the Single Point Order Tracking System
- Utilize proper asset management procedures that comply with FEMA property regulations
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency offers an array of training programs for local and state emergency management coordinators, first responders, volunteers and public officials. These programs include:
- National Incident Management System Incident Command System training
- Emergency planning, an all-hazards approach
- Principles of emergency management
- Disaster 101
- Exercise design and evaluation
- Annual emergency management workshop for directors or deputy directors
- Developing and managing volunteers
The training requirements for each of these programs are subject to change on a yearly basis. Directors and deputy directors must comply with training as stipulated in the Mississippi Emergency Management Act of 1995.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MSEMA) is responsible for warning the public, preparing local and state emergency responders, and providing relief to victims of natural and manmade catastrophes. MEMA works closely with county emergency management organizations and provides critical equipment and training to personnel.
One of the most important protective that MSEMA employs is the Communications section. The Communications Section is a 24-hour a day unit that monitors the global environment for threats to Mississippi residents. Using satellite, low band, and UHF communications, MSEMA is able to provide early warnings to personnel in all 82 state counties as well as Native American tribal groups. The Communications Section also utilizes a fax and email system to alert MSEMA personnel.