Albany, Dougherty EMA makes improvements

Albany, Dougherty EMA makes improvements
Jenna Wirtz is the Emergency Management Specialist. (Source: WALB)
Jenna Wirtz is the Emergency Management Specialist. (Source: WALB)

DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - Emergency management officials in Albany and Dougherty County have been very busy since January.

They said they want to be as prepared as possible if another storm hits our area.

"We've been doing this improvement cycle pretty much nonstop since the tornadoes happened," said Emergency Management Specialist Jenna Wirtz.

Wirtz said Dougherty County has made some significant changes to their emergency plans in light of what happened in January.

"We're constantly making changes," said Wirtz. "Making improvements to different processes, changing communication routes, changing personnel in different ways."

Changes began by freeing up phone lines for people trying to call 911.

When emergency alerts were sent to phones in January, it would tie up the phone lines and people who needed help couldn't always get through to 911.

Officials have also found smarter ways to utilize personnel and keep everyone on the same page.

"We've changed the way we communicate internally to make sure we are better able to serve the community and get information out to them quickly," explained Wirtz.

Officials now have the technology to operate emergency operations center functions from anywhere, that way people can work around the clock.

Wirtz said emergency management will continue to make changes as they're needed. But she said the right now, the emergency response teams are more prepared than in January.

"We were prepared in January, but not for two storms right after each other," said Wirtz. "There are only a finite number of resources and that's part that really gets you."

Smaller changes have come with CodeRED alerts to make them more effective.

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