The Union Recorder

Local News

April 28, 2013

Local agencies trained well for disaster



Help before, during and after

Whether through funding or simple responder numbers, crisis areas require outside assistance.

Financially McMullen said the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) or its federal parent should step forward.

“Any time you have natural disasters you'd be hoping that the state and federal government would chip in and help us out,” McMullen said. “We are hopeful these things don't happen, but also that we can recover some expense from federal reserves.”

Reynolds said funding responses begin locally, bouncing to state and the national radar if Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency.

“We would reach out to all agencies for help,” the EMA director said.

Clearing roadways becomes a necessity for emergency response delivery. 

Swicord said it's difficult to prepare for that role until thrown into the fire and chaos.

“The main issue is traffic control to try and get people to and from each scene. You can never be prepared for something like that. You just hope that training kicks in,” the police chief said.

McMullen ranks Public Works in high regard. 

“We feel confident that our Public Works will respond very well,” McMullen said. “They will be out there all night long working with other first responders keeping our roads clear.”

Water is a necessity when the power drops. Providing generators for those sites fits within an EMA plan.

Reynolds said a soon to be established Community Emergency Response team recruited from the local community allows highly trained fire and law enforcement to handle high priority items.

“If a catastrophic event happens, that will allow us to use those resources to help us do property search and in storms where now we may tie up a truck or law enforcement,” he said.

Gaines pointed out an established emergency preparedness mission of bringing normalcy back to citizens. Finding the most effective solution comes out of the training.

“Every emergency is solved at some point and time. We strive to do that,” the GC officer said.

Preparing your home disaster kit serves as an important facet considering the severe weather season moves closer.

“You have to prepare yourself, and we’ll be there in the aftermath to help put things back together,” Reynolds said.

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