Irene has So. GA resources at the ready -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Irene has So. GA resources at the ready

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 South Georgia first responders are gearing up to lend a helping hand to areas hit by Irene. One Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle team is already on the way to Massachusetts. And Dougherty County search and rescue personnel are on standby, waiting to see if they'll be called into action.

Albany is ready to open temporary shelters for evacuees if that becomes necessary. Local emergency management agencies are also working though GEMA and FEMA to see how many volunteers they might be able to send to areas hit by the hurricane.

The American Red Cross Flint River Chapter's Emergency Response Vehicle or ERV was checked over before heading north to help with the storm relief effort even though most of the damage has yet to occur.  "They'll drive through the day and stay at hotels overnight, until they get to their destination: Massachusetts," said Nigel Poole, ARC Flint River Emergency Services Director.

It's just one of many being readied. Over 200 ERV's are being deployed. From a staging area they'll be dispatched to collect storm damage information or meet the community's needs with clean up kits or food.

"We have six food rows in here which typically hold a meat and two vegetables, we can actually serve from back here out the side window," said Poole.

 They're not the only ones. Georgia Power is waiting for damage reports before deploying. A team of 24 from Albany, including Jay Smith of GA Power, is awaiting marching orders. "Early in the week we put together a group of volunteers that would go on a storm team and each region in the state did that we have 12 regions."

Local EMA also got the call mid-afternoon for the search and rescue team. "They're trying to line up people should they be called for, if it's something that's going to last for a while, you're going to have multiple, change crews so you can't leave the same people working 24/7," said Jim Vaught, Deputy EMA Director.

Right now, it's a waiting game to see what damage Irene will bring and just how much help is needed.

Crews weren't sure when they would be dispatched, but say they have everything ready for when they are.

Water, Gas, and Light is also ready to send linemen to damaged areas if they get a call for help.


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