The Union Recorder

Local News

April 28, 2013

Local agencies trained well for disaster



Gaines called the technology “a one stop shop to get the message out.”

Georgia College invests a lot of money into infrastructure and planning like any city or municipality would. The university received a $40,000 grant to integrate a campus TV and computer pop up program warning students of emergencies.

Three stand-alone sirens costing $96,000 use old school communication alerting citizens and students about severe weather or other dangerous situations.

The siren system is easily expandable, according to Gaines. The city inquired about the sirens recently, and Reynolds likes the weather alert capabilities.

For those out of downtown audible range, National Weather Service is the option.

“The system is expandable. All that has to be done is buying the infrastructure,” Gaines said. “It wouldn't be hard at all. I'm a big advocate of it. Most tornadoes happen when we are asleep.”

The county's new E911 center opened Sept. 11 last year brandishing snazzy software and hardware. 

The facility includes an advanced Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system that records incident details and updates, prioritizes events and identifies the appropriate responder resource. In addition to the CAD boost, mapping software offers dynamic map display to pinpoint the location of a caller or an incident. GPS tracking lets county dispatchers send the closest available responder to the location. 

Georgia College, fire departments and the Milledgeville Police Department utilize the system, as well as surrounding counties within the Oconee Regional 911 network.

LaRocque said a good amount of money spent gave the center an uninterrupted power supply. Safety rods built into the structure dissipate the electricity in the event of a lightening strike.

If a disaster event hit the center itself, officers could reroute calls to another phone. Dispatchers could still direct manpower without the CAD and extended mapping capabilities.

“We can transfer calls to another phone as easy as turning a light switch. I saw that in action Sept. 11 when we moved in that building. We'd be back at the old enhanced where you can see the number and coordinate with that person. We could still dispatch,” LaRocque said.

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