Mississippi Providing Help to Respond to Hurricane Irma
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MEMA Executive Director Lee Smithson
Mark Rigsby - MPB News

Hurricane Irma is causing widespread devastation through Florida. As MPB's Mark Rigsby reports, Mississippi is ready to help with disaster relief and recovery.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Lee Smithson says the state is providing support to Florida to respond to Hurricane Irma, including the National Guard.

"People to help with the medical assistance, the sheltering. We've got the National Guard on the way to Florida right now with a medium truck company. Two National Guard helicopters to go in. I think that support will grow over the next weeks."

Governor Phil Bryant says he won't allow state resources to be stretched thin, since hurricane season is far from over.

"We're being very careful before sending any resources into areas where a predicted storm could be, because I've seen those storms move. We must, it's my job here, is to make sure to protect the people of the state of Mississippi first."

Smithson agrees.

"So, we don't want to have our total assets out of state if we get hit with something. We're managing that risk right now. We're making sure we're not putting all of our eggs in one basket. We're making sure we can take care of Mississippians while we maximize our response to Florida to help those people."

Smithson says Mississippi plans to have a helping presence in Florida long after the storm passes.