Turner county safety employees demand changes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Turner county safety employees demand changes

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January 8, 2008

Ashburn - - People in Ashburn are still re-building after Last month's violent tornado ripped through the city. Many city officials are upset that 911 dispatchers didn't ring the emergency siren to alert residents the storm was coming. Tuesday, those city officials took their frustrations to the Turner County Commission encouraging them to take action. 

D.J. Davis has lived in Ashburn all of his life.

"Yes, they've been blowing before," he refers to the county's emergency alert system.

But the night of January 8th, the storm ripping through his home was his only warning.

"All I heard was two windows broke on the other side of the house."

City officials say that could have been avoided with proper leadership at the county's emergency response center. So public safety workers in Ashburn, Sycamore and Turner County came together with one request.

"Hire a qualified and capable 911 director and hire a qualified and capable EMA director," Coroner Edgar Perry spoke out.

Right now, there's only an Interim 911 director and no EMA director. The group says after four months without one, there needs to be a change.

"It's my understanding that if you go longer than six months without an EMA director and you have a disaster, then you're not entitled to any state or federal disaster funds," Perry said.

And time he said time is critical.

"When EMS made a proposal to them to add additional personnel so they could man the second EMS station, it took them about 3 to 4 months for them to decide to do that."

That's why they pleaded for immediate action.

Davis says he understands the need.

"They generally blow it but we aint heard nothing that night," Davis remembers.

Because an alert, he says, could've giving him a few extra minutes to get prepared. 

The county commission didn't take any action Tuesday. But Chair Daryl Hall says the commission may have a special meeting this month to discuss the issue.

He says he realizes there are some imperfections with the 911 center, but he says they didn't happen overnight. He also says the Interim Director is doing a good job, despite the siren situation.

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