CRISP CO., GA (WALB) - As people evacuating from Irma move through Crisp County, leaders want to make sure no one takes advantage of them.
City and county leaders have declared a local State of Emergency.
This is not a part of Governor Nathan Deal's declaration.
The Crisp County Sheriff's Office said the State of Emergency was declared just before noon on Thursday as a preventative measure to make sure there is no price gouging at gas stations, hotels and other places evacuees may frequent because of Hurricane Irma.
Crisp County EMA Director and Sheriff Billy Hancock said there will be consequences for price gouging.
"They didn't think they were going to be away from their home, buy extra gas, buy extra food, buy a motel room, so we don't want anybody to take advantage of those individuals. Not saying that anybody in our community would, this just helps reminds us not to," said Hancock.
If you notice price gouging in a Georgia area under a declared State of Emergency, you are encouraged to report it to the Consumer Protection Unit at (404) 651-8600 or at 1-800-8691123 or CLICK HERE TO REPORT ONLINE and for more information.
Cordele and Crisp County leaders are continuing EMA briefings with state leaders to ensure they're up to speed on shelter and evacuation information.
Sheriff Hancock said Crisp County has had heavy traffic on I-75 northbound out of Florida.
He said he has been focusing on passing information to government, public works, health and law enforcement leaders during this evacuation stage.
Meanwhile, Arabi Baptist Church has committed to opening a good samaritan shelter Saturday at 1 p.m.
"I think they've already said they've got about 20 people that have asked to come to that shelter," said Sheriff Hancock.
A nursing home from Savannah will evacuate around 75 patients to Crisp Regional Hospital's nursing home, as well.
Families of those patients and staff members will stay at First Baptist Church.
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