Georgia EMA directors hold summit - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia EMA directors hold summit

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

August 21, 2008

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Emergency Management Directors from across south Georgia met today to prepare for Tropical Storm Fay. It was their regular monthly meeting, but it took on a greater sense of urgency with this potential for flooding that Tropical Storm Fay poses.

Albany Public Works crews are just one piece of the puzzle that will respond to Fay. The state has activated the Emergency Operations Center in Atlanta. They're ready to send available resources to any county that might need them.

That's why a meeting today in Tifton was so important. It allowed emergency personnel here in Dougherty and in Seminole or Thomas or Lowndes Counties to talk about what resources they have to deal with Fay and how those resources can be shared.

Winds in Tifton were gusting a little stronger, clouds became a permanent fixture, and inside the Tifton Utilities Building 23 of south Georgia's emergency management directors were talking about how to deal with the coming storm.

"You don't really know what resources are needed right now it depends on what we are faced with it may be as simple as just trying to get some additional law enforcement help if we have streets flood it may be additional help for shelter purposes it's just we really just talked about what everybody has to offer," says GEMA's Area 2 Coordinator Gary Rice.

The most useful tool right now is what these counties can share.

"There's a lot of experience in that room a lot of people who have gone through storms, seen different things, and just maintaining those relationships and contact so, when the storm hits that's not our first time, we know we've got someone we can call on and we kind of all know what each other are able to provide," said Lowndes County EMA Director Ashley Tye.

Already Georgia counties along the Florida border are preparing their crews for extra shifts.

"Myself and our emergency management staff, my deputy EMA Director will sit down and go ahead write out an operational plan throughout the weekend who will be first on call, who will be second on call," said Thomas County EMA Director Chris Jones.

If they don't have the resources they need the state will be there to lend a hand, but what they'll need is still anyone's guess.

"The track's so uncertain right now that we're just trying to, we're taking the best information we can get from the National Weather Service and we're just planning ahead," Rice says.

Some counties are putting together information lines for resident who have questions about the storm.

  • In Thomas County, call 229-227-4152
  • In Lowndes County, call 229-671-2790

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