Storm emergency responses in Hancock County

As Hurricane Ida took its toll on Hancock County Sunday, emergency response agencies in the area worked through the storm to make sure residents stayed safe.

Despite major flooding, storm surge, and multiple tornado warnings, emergency response departments in some of the most affected areas in Hancock County continued to bring assistance to residents throughout Hurricane Ida.

The Bay St. Louis Fire Department responded to nearly 30 calls Sunday night which included rescues, various alarms, and downed power lines. Bay St. Louis Fire Deputy Chief Ronald Avery said, “We had about an hour or so where we stopped doing– stopped responding to calls. Depending on the call, the nature of the emergency. We looked at the ‘risk versus reward’ part of it. Life safety is always first.”

The Waveland Police Department stayed out on the roads through the storm responding to similar calls from residents.

Early Sunday, low-lying areas in Hancock County were already flooded. That’s why Hancock County issued a mandatory evacuation for those areas. Some, however, decided not to evacuate. Waveland Police Chief Michael Prendergast said, “We had a few calls where people, not paying attention to the high water on certain streets and getting caught in the water and we had to go out and rescue them from out of their vehicles.”

Bay St. Louis’ two high-water rescue units were out every hour on the hour checking streets and checking for people who were trying to get out. Avery says the department had about ten water rescues over the course of the storm. “A few people would then, after the water started rising, decided they wanted to get out and that’s where we go in and get them out and get them to an emergency shelter.”

The job isn’t done when the storm passes. Immediately both departments went to work to make their communities safe and accessible for residents. “Our high-water rescue units are first in to try and see if we can access a street in case of structural damage, structural fires.”

“Within 30 minutes our public works was out. All of us were out last night. Got the trees cut and roads back open.”

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