Giuliani Brings Preparedness Plan Here - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Pearl 09/04/07

Giuliani Brings Preparedness Plan Here

By Jon Kalahar
jkalahar@wlbt.net

He's a presidential hopeful now. But Rudy Giuliani was the mayor of New York City during the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center. And it's that experience he brought to central Mississippi Tuesday to lay out his plan for emergency preparedness, whether it's terrorism or a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina.

"You need a MEMA and a state operation of this quality and this magnitude in every state big or small," said Giuliani.

Using Mississippi's response and recovery since Katrina as an example, Giuliani put emergency preparedness squarely on the shoulders of local agencies. He says it's up to the federal government to support and train states and communities, but it's up to each and every small town to put those plans into action should the unimaginable happen again.

"It's going to be you...the local fire department, the local police department, the local emergency workers, the local volunteers," he said. "So we've got to make sure you're prepared."

It's a plan Governor Haley Barbour supports, as does the executive director of the State Fire Academy, Reggie Bell. His first responders were on the ground after Katrina hit.

"Whatever it is, they're going to be the ones that are going to have the knowledge of that area, and they just need support form the federal government and state agencies to supplement their response," Bell said.

Giuliani says ultimately the goal is to get every state on the same level as far as preparedness, but even he admits that may be years in the making.

"Our response is going to be as good as you are, and it's going to be as bad as you are," said Giuliani.

"We're 90 percent prepared to do what we do, but there's always that 10 percent we're going to learn from, be better next time," said Bell.

Giuliani hopes his plan will cut down the likelihood of a next time.

Giuliani also says his plan will control money from the federal government to areas affected by tragedies like Katrina and 9-11. But he says it will also track where the money is spent and make sure it gets to those who need it most.

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