Dothan Police Assist with Hurricane Gustav Recovery

By: Rayne McKenzie Email
By: Rayne McKenzie Email

Dothan police officers are already staged in parts of Mississippi to help with recovery efforts.

The Houston County emergency management agency is on standby to send in communication equipment to help officials if telephone lines are knocked down.

Officials in the wiregrass are thankful Hurricane Gustav only brought light rain and wind to the area. They're now in a position to help those areas more affected by Gustav's fury like Mississippi and Louisiana.

Mississippi officials are calling for 500 police officers to help with disaster relief efforts and the Dothan police department is stepping in to help.

Chief John Powell with the Dothan police department said, "We have sent officers to the worst hit parts of Mississippi, they are on the ground right now."

Because Houston County wasn't severely affected by Gustav, local emergency responders are ready to move into areas where their skills may be needed.

Houston county emergency management director Clark Matthews said, "As far as Houston County we can support with law enforcement officers, a heavy rescue unit that went to Katrina, we also have a hazardous material unit with the Dothan fire dept."

After a hurricane, communication usually becomes more difficult. Houston County has the equipment needed to allow emergency workers the ability to communicate with one another to speed up recovery time.

Matthews said, "Sometimes when you have winds it'll take down towers and we could go in and set up a communication network that first responders could use and it's unique."

Houston county officials say local response is top priority, but they are always willing to help other states if they have the manpower and equipment needed.

The Dothan police officers who've been sent to help in Mississippi will return on Friday.

The communications vehicle is ready to go, but hasn't been requested by either Mississippi or Louisiana yet.

The Houston county e-m-a held a meeting today to discuss possible affects of Hanna and how they may be able to assist residents in those areas after the storm passes.

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