Mayor says county is preparing for disaster - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mayor says county is preparing for disaster

Shelby County leaders hope one good thing to come out of the recent hurricanes is a wakeup call.

Mayor A.C. Wharton told members of the Chamber of Commerce this morning that the county is doing everything it can to make sure government does not fail if a disaster strikes.

Wharton reminded a packed room at Memphis Cook Convention Center Thursday that Shelby County has many similarities to New Orleans, specifically the poverty factor.

Just last week Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton blasted Mayor Wharton and Congressman Harold Ford Junior claiming they misled the public by suggesting that the community could be fully prepared for a disaster.

Thursday morning, Wharton set the record straight.

"One thing I want to make crystal clear," he said.  "I, nor any public official is going to stand up and say that we have a fool-proof plan, but I don't think it hurts anybody to show each of our citizens what you need to know."

Wharton said the government could not do it alone, so he called upon the business community to lend a hand. One business owner at the meeting has put together a Homeland Security Assessment Manual. Donald C. Fisher, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Quality Center describes his manual as a one-of-a-kind disaster blueprint for businesses.

Fisher is working with the regional Homeland Security Office and Mayor Wharton to formulate a disaster response model. He is planning to schedule a workshop in October, while the Mayor hopes to have his plan in place within a month.

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