MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WTVA) --Monroe County Supervisor Doug Wiggins gave a tour of the specialized communications vault built to house the county's communication equipment.
Wiggins is from Smithville and remembers the communication breakdown during last years tornado.
"People were just trying to communicate with each other verbally," said Wiggins.
There wasn't a back up generator so when the county lost power, first responders were unable to talk to each other. It took officials a couple of hours to pass on information.
EMA Director Bunky Goza said the communications vault was needed.
"After a traumatic event that we experienced in Smithville, you look at your whole plan. So many avenues were used you don't think about such things as protecting your equipment. Communication is the key to any kind of disaster," said Goza.
Prior to the new storm shelter, the equipment was inside of a tin building. If the tin building would have suffered a direct hit from a tornado or any kind of storm, the county would have lost everything.
"We would have lost our tower and our equipment. Therefore we would have been without communication for a longer period of time," said Wiggins.
Now leaders say the vault should protect the lines of communication in the event a disaster strikes. The new propane powered generator will keep the lines of communication open even if the county loses power.