Sumter Co EMA director: social media saved residents from tornad - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Sumter Co EMA director: social media saved residents from tornado

Social media played a key role in keeping Sumter County residents safe during Wednesday's storm. (Source: Nigel Poole's Facebook) Social media played a key role in keeping Sumter County residents safe during Wednesday's storm. (Source: Nigel Poole's Facebook)
Sumter County Emergency Management Director Nigel Poole (Source: WALB) Sumter County Emergency Management Director Nigel Poole (Source: WALB)
Tree fell through a home during Wednesday's tornado. (Source: WALB) Tree fell through a home during Wednesday's tornado. (Source: WALB)
SUMTER CO., GA (WALB) -

Social media played a key role in keeping Sumter County residents safe during Wednesday's storm.

Emergency Management leaders used Facebook to provide minute-to-minute storm updates, and to push many people to seek shelter.

Sumter County Emergency Management Director Nigel Poole said folks were fortunate this time.

There was minimal damage, trees in the road and a few trees that fell on homes.

But one thing that's important to note: residents were prepared. 

"I tried to stay on top of this storm in letting my public know what was going on," said Poole.

Social media was part of that push. 

Starting on Monday, Poole sent out Facebook posts putting folks on notice.

By round two of Wednesday's storm, his tornado safe room post was shared nearly 200 times.

The room was there to give residents who were in unsafe conditions or who were driving on the road, and may be logged on Facebook where they could seek shelter. 

"We decided to pool the trigger on opening this, well in advance of the storm coming," said Poole. 

200 people crammed into the Georgia State Patrol Post 10 tornado shelter. 

"It's standing room only, there's no seats this is just simply to ride out the storm," said Poole. 

The power of social media saved hundreds of lives.

Poole's Facebook wall received dozens of posts that read "Good job to emergency director...you kept us informed of the weather and I felt safe knowing that help was out there." 

There were 100 people at the second tornado safe room located at 1601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.

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