Emergency officials focus on what Hanna will do - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Emergency officials focus on what Hanna will do

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

September 2, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - As Hurricane Hanna threatens Georgia's coast the Georgia Emergency Management Agency is encouraging citizens to make preparations for severe weather.

Whether you're inland or along the coast Georgians should prepare for extensive flooding, tornadoes, and power outages with Hanna. In southwest Georgia, emergency management directors are preparing for evacuees from the coast and a need for volunteers.

It was just a week ago that counties here in southwest Georgia were dealing with the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay. They're not letting their guards down and again are preparing for a week of conference calls with the National Weather Service and GEMA in an effort to prepare for Hanna.

 Southwest Georgia continues to clean up from Tropical Storm Fay and with Hurricane Gustav downgraded all eyes are turning to the Atlantic and what Hanna may bring.

 "We're now looking a the next one for us which may hit the state of Georgia," says Deputy EMA Director Jim Vaught.

Public Works crews are again running through their storm prep check lists and Emergency Management directors are preparing to support evacuees from the coast.

"We're actually an alternate for the evacuation of the east coast there are other designated sites like Macon and Tifton where evacuees may go, but if those shelters become full we could be the next in line to be filled," said Vaught.

Lists of volunteers are being prepared by everyone from the American Red Cross to Public Health who has been busy training medical reserve corps volunteers and signing more up.

"They could participate or help out in a shelter, they could participate by giving out information concerning how to get back into a home that's been flooded, what to watch out for in a flooded situation," says Emergency Preparedness Specialist Travis Donnelly.

Community Emergency Response Teams from Dougherty and Lee Counties could also be called into service during the storm either here or along the coast.

 "Part of CERT Training is in triage, we do light search and rescue, we do small fire suppression, first aide," says Donnelly.

During disaster recovery, volunteers often provide crucial assistance that frees up first responders. The Southwest Georgia chapter of the American Red Cross has as many as 75 volunteers who could potentially respond to the storm.

Many volunteers to Public Health's Medical Reserve Corps are still undergoing training and may not respond to this storm, but with an active hurricane season more volunteers are needed. If you interested in becoming a volunteer you can find more information HERE.

For now the Georgia Emergency Management Agency says they will continue to monitor the storm and will be holding regular conference calls within the different regions of the state until they've got a better idea where the storm may go.