Dougherty County improves storm preparations - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty County improves storm preparations

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May 20, 2005

Albany -- Dougherty County Emergency Management is using experience gained from last year's intense Hurricane Season, to better safeguard South Georgians now.

 Homeland Security grants will be used to warn more people of severe weather. The 2004 hurricane season was the most intense and destructive in recent memory, with four storms striking South Georgia. Dougherty E.M.A. Deputy Director Jim Vaught said "We learned a lot from last year."

There were 15 Tropical Storms last year, 9 Hurricanes, 6 of which were major. The National Weather Service predictions for 2005, another year of severe weather. Dougherty County EMA has received nearly 155 thousand dollars in grants and equipment to better track and warn you about those storms, if they come our way. Vaught said "After last year it's pretty much evident that we are in the path."

A 60-thousand dollar grant from Homeland Security will make Dougherty County's Emergency Operation Center a command center for the 23 county area. Vaught said "With us being the hub, and we'll be able to better communicate and assist each other."

New real time satellite and Internet communications equipment has been installed in the 9-1-1 center, for quicker alerts from the National Weather Service.

And 94 thousand dollars in equipment from Homeland Security is on the way, to help Rescue Squads better respond to disasters.

Meanwhile the E.M.A. says each family should make their own emergency plan. Vaught said "Have a survival kit that you can grab in a moment's notice and take with you. It's just to be prepared."

You should also plan in advance where you can take shelter in case of disaster, and an emergency route to evacuate.

The first Hurricane of the season is Adrian, a Pacific Storm that this afternoon was inland over Honduras, but could emerge into the Caribbean.

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