Dougherty County EMA alert when weather threatens -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty EMA is on alert when weather threatens

Governor Nathan Deal Governor Nathan Deal
Dougherty County EMA deputy director Dougherty County EMA deputy director

This week's snowstorm shut down the city of Atlanta, trapping some drivers for nearly 24 hours.  Governor Nathan Deal says it won't happen again.  

"I would say that our preparation was not adequate, and to that extent we did not have adequate preparation," said Governor Nathan Deal.  

State leaders admit they were asleep when the National Weather Service updated their forecast and issued a winter storm warning for Atlanta. GEMA didn't activate the emergency operations center until traffic had been grid locked for hours.

"I should have declared the state operations center open sooner, six hour sooner," said GEMA Spokesperson.  

Dougherty County EMA Deputy Director Jim Vaught says his office closely monitors developing storms.

"If we've been informed that there is a potential for severe weather we the fire chief who is also the EMA director we are either here 24/7 or one of us go for a period of time or we rotate back off," said Jim Vaught, Deputy EMA Director.

Governor Deal says he and other state leaders learned a lesson. He ordered a review of the state's actions to come up with a better emergency plan and says he won't hesitate to declare a state of emergency early on, in the future.  

"We will be much more cautious and much more aggressive in terms of taking action in advance of future situations" said Deal.  

Vaught says he and other South Georgia EMA agencies are always ready, ready to prevent catastrophes like the ones that occurred in Atlanta.  

"We train for more than the state requires of us, we're required to do so many table tops, so many full scale exercises over a period of time, we exceed that tenfold," said Vaught.

Vaught tells WALB that every other month he and emergency management leaders from 23 other South Georgia counties get together in Camilla to talk about emergency preparedness.

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