FEMA dispatches from Thomasville, Ga. - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

FEMA dispatches from Thomasville, Ga.

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August 30, 2005

Thomasville, Georgia-- Hunkered-down inside an underground bunker, FEMA's Thomasville branch is coordinating emergency field operations for Hurricane Katrina.

"We're going to have people in the field supporting our state and local partners as long as it takes," says manager, Shelley Boone.

That's a timetable nobody on the secure campus can narrow down. Katrina's damage is just too widespread. "A lot of it depends on how quickly the water recedes, how many structures are on the ground," says Boone.

Several teams from FEMA's Mobile Emergency Response Support Detachment are scattered all along the Gulf Coast. They went down there ahead of Hurricane Katrina. "Employees out of here are emergency response specialists in such areas as communications, as logistics in helping get supplies," says Boone.

MERS teams will do that by using the ICS, or Incident Command System. "ICS takes and establishes some common terms and some common operating methods," says Boone.

The system does that so there's less confusion in an already chaotic situation, something FEMA workers have to face everyday. "You just have to put that behind you and try to continue work to recover as quickly as possible," says Boone.

More than 30 teams from the Rose City are adopting that mindset right now along the Gulf Coast.

If you have any questions about the recovery or need help, you can call 1-800-621-FEMA. You can also go to www.fema.gov to register for assistance.

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