(Olive Branch, MS) ”We want to emphasize going in, the state of emergency is still in place,” Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said on Saturday.
The mayor stressed, the potential for danger still wasn’t over.
But since Friday didn’t bring the ice damage many people expected, they wondered what the state of emergency was all about.
“They get excited because it’s something they don’t know. It’s fear of the unknown,” said Elmo Perry of Walls.
That’s why some people were critical of government leaders for what they called “crying wolf.”
But former Olive Branch Mayor Sam Rikard says there are very good reasons to declare a state of emergency.
”A declaration of State of Emergency allows you to react quickly to needs that are in front of you,” said Rikard, who now heads up the DeSoto Weather Center.
He says since nobody can predict the future, it’s best to stay prepared and a state of emergency gives governments flexability.
“Government has to go by purchasing laws for just about everything, and you may find debris removal that needs to be done or roadwork needs to be done very quickly. That doesn’t afford you the benefit of four to six weeks of a bid process.”
Plus, it can help local governments get federal disaster money to pay for immediate needs.
But Elmo Perry says perhaps politicians should explain that.
“It would be nice if people did understand it, but it would also be better if the politicians would clearly, in layman’s terms; this is what we’re doing.”
That way we won’t get so concerned next time we hear this:
“So we really want to emphasize the emergency order is still in place,” as Luttrell said Saturday.
We’re liable to hear that phrase many more times before winter is over.