Emergency Emergency WINTER 2006 M by wuxiangyu


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     Emergency Manager is the
      official magazine of the
                                          From the Director                                                                                      Exceptional EMA
    Georgia Office of Homeland
    Security-Georgia Emergency
       Management Agency                                                                                                                       Pam Tucker, Columbia County
         Lisa Janak, Editor                                                                                                                                                                          The county is susceptible to natural        whiz,”        she

                                                                                                                                                      am Tucker has a palpable enthusiasm
                                         A Difficult Farewell                                                                                         for emergency management that
                                                                                                                                                      hasn’t diminished one iota after 28
                                                                                                                                                                                                disasters as well as an array of man-made
                                                                                                                                                                                                threats. Tucker must prepare for the possi-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 says. “And I’m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 always won-
    Honorable Sonny Perdue
           Governor                                                                                                                            years on the job as emergency management         ble failure of three Savannah River dams,        dering what
                                                                                                                                               agency (EMA) director in two counties. “I        which are located upstream along the             we can do to
         Mike Sherberger                                                                                                                                                                        Georgia-South Carolina border. In addi-          improve.”
                                                                                                                                               have found my niche,” she declares.
                                                                                                                                                    Tucker began her career with the            tion, “Transportation accidents involving              Pe r h a p s
          Donna Burns                                                                                                                          Augusta-Richmond County EMA on                   hazardous material issues concern us a great     her most pop-
       Public Affairs Director                                                                                                                 March 1, 1978, when she was just 22 years        deal,” she says. “Remember, we live very         ular initiative,

                                                his is a particularly difficult column to write, because it marks
                                                                                                                                               old. After three agency directors resigned       close to Graniteville.” (Last January, a train   however, is the
             Ken Davis                          a beginning and an end, and there is so much to be said in so
        Public Affairs Officer                                                                                                                 within six years, county commissioners           carrying toxic chlorine gas crashed in the       county’s 3-1-1
                                                little space.
                                                                                                                                               finally hired her for the job. “I grew up in a   small mill town of Graniteville, South           customer
           Buzz Weiss                                                                                                                          time where women were teachers and               Carolina, killing nine and causing the evac-     service and Columbia County EMA
     Public Affairs Coordinator               On January 31, 2006, I retired from the Office of Homeland Security-Georgia Emergency
                                                                                                                                               nurses,” says Tucker. “It was unusual for        uation of 5,000.)                                information Director Pam Tucker
                                         Management Agency (OHS-GEMA) and from state government after 34 years. I am saddened to
            Lisa Janak                                                                                                                         any woman to be in a position of leader-              Moreover, 17 miles of I-20 run              c e n t e r .
                                         close out this chapter, yet excited about embarking on new journeys. On some days when I look
      Multi-Media Coordinator                                                                                                                  ship, let alone one so young.”                   through Columbia County, and the                 Columbia County was the second commu-
                                         back, the 34 years seem like an eternity, but on others they seem amazingly brief. I suppose that’s
                                                                                                                                                    Tucker thrived on the challenge.            Savannah River Site and Plant Vogtle             nity in Georgia to implement this free serv-
          Kandice Weech                  part of the experience that comes with this kind of change.
                                                                                                                                               “Gosh almighty, what a feeling of accom-         nuclear power plants operate nearby.             ice, where residents call for answers to their
          Web Coordinator
                                                                                                                                               plishment to grow an EMA from the                “When doing our historical research for our      questions about Columbia County govern-
                                              I joined GEMA in 1991, left briefly in 2002 on loan to the Centers for Disease Control, but
        Katherine Huggins                                                                                                                      ground up,” she says. “The first time the        hazard mitigation plans, we found the only       ment. This service benefits community
                                         returned the following year when Governor Perdue entrusted me with the agency’s leadership.
        Constituent Services                                                                                                                   phone rang, I had to dig for a pen and           four things that can’t happen to us are vol-     leaders, as well. “It enables commissioners
                                         These years, without question, have been the most rewarding of my career.
                                                                                                                                               paper in my purse to take a message. There       cano, avalanche, landslide and tsunami,”         to track trends and help their constituents,”
                                                                                                                                               was not a lot of planning, except for nuclear    Tucker says. “We’re vulnerable to every-         explains Tucker. “It also alleviates non-
          Published by the                    Over this span of time, I have seen emergency management redefined and expanded to
                                                                                                                                               war.” There also was a lack of awareness         thing else. And the only things that haven’t     emergency calls to our 9-1-1 center.” The
    Georgia Office of Homeland           address new ominous threats to our safety. I have seen our all-hazards philosophy enhanced, and
                                                                                                                                               about        emergency          management.      occurred is dam failure and a radiological       service logged more than 1,200 calls in
    Security-Georgia Emergency           homeland security become a part of our lexicon. I witnessed a new and unprecedented emphasis
       Management Agency                                                                                                                       “Remember, this was before FEMA,”                incident.”                                       October.
                                         on training for the emergency management and public safety communities. I have seen exciting
      Post Office Box 18055                                                                                                                    Tucker recalls. She had to be creative when           These challenges might be daunting                The media-savvy Tucker recognizes the
                                         new technologies implemented. And I have seen vital new partnerships forged with our state and
      Atlanta, Georgia 30316                                                                                                                   launching new programs and succeeded by          for some EMA directors, but not Tucker.          importance of working with the press. “You
                                         federal allies, the volunteer community, and the private sector that have fortified the security of
                                                                                                                                               seeking private funds and building good          “We have a strong exercise program, a spe-       have to be accessible to the media day and
                                         Georgia’s citizens.
             PHONE                                                                                                                             relationships with the public and media.         cial needs database that is updated              night. They can help you get your message
         1-800-TRY-GEMA                                                                                                                             Tucker spearheaded the response to          regularly, a proactive public education pro-     out to the public,” she says. “You have to
          (404) 635-7000                     I have had the privilege of learning, as we took valuable lessons to heart from the many
                                                                                                                                               the county’s worst disaster, severe flooding     gram and three warning systems,” she pro-        give people good, accurate information so
        FAX (404) 635-7205               events that tested us. The 1994 floods, the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, the 1998 tornado
                                                                                                                                               that occurred in October 1990, when trop-        nounces. Tucker is not a fan of sirens alone     they can be prepared for a disaster.”
                                         outbreak, the Walker County crematory discovery, the G-8 Summit, and the impact of Hurricane
                                                                                                                                               ical storms Klaus and Marco converged            because, she says, it is hard to hear them             “It really is important for an emer-
            Web site                     Katrina. We have learned from and built upon every one of these challenges.
        www.ohs.state.ga.us                                                                                                                    over east Georgia. A seemingly endless           over the roar of a tornado. Instead, the         gency manager to do something every day
                                                                                                                                               amount of rain washed out roads and rail-        sirens are just one component of a warning       to get people ready,” Tucker continues.
                                              Above all, though, it has been the people who I will remember and value the most.
                                                                                                                                               road tracks and destroyed homes and pub-         system that also includes National Oceanic       “They must be ready, or you’re going to lose
                                         OHS-GEMA has been successful because of its outstanding dedicated professionals. I wish them
      You are welcome to submit                                                                                                                lic buildings. “It just wouldn’t go away,”       and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)            lives.” Tucker maintains an e-mail alert sys-
     original articles for publication
                                         the best as we all move forward to our next challenge.
                                                                                                                                               Tucker laments. The county received a            Weather Radio and reverse 9-1-1. “We can         tem and sends a short message nearly every
    consideration. The deadline for
                                                                                                                                               presidential disaster declaration.               warn 85 percent of our population, which         day to make the public and media aware of
     the spring issue is March 15.
                                                                                                                                                    Tucker left Richmond County in 1999         is about the best anybody can do with any        any threats, unusual activity or upcoming
      Cover photo courtesy of                                                                                                                  to become the EMA director for Columbia          warning system.”                                 events. “People love it,” she says. “They
    UGA College of Agricultural and                                                                                                                                                                  In addition to her duties as EMA            e-mail me back, saying ‘thank you so
                                                                                                                                               County. And once again, Tucker looked
      Environmental Sciences
                                                                                                                                               forward to building an EMA from the              director, Tucker is division director for        much.’ If I have only one tip, it’s get a data-
      Photographer: John Amis
                                                                                                                                               ground up.                                       emergency services, where she manages            base going, and add to it daily.”
                                                                                                                                                    Formerly undeveloped countryside,           contracts for private ambulance and fire               Although her job consumes nearly all
                                                                                                                                               Columbia County boomed seemingly                 services. She also is charged with the           her time, “you never get a day off,” she
                                                                                                                                               overnight into a bedroom community for           Columbia County 3-1-1 Call Center,               admits, Tucker takes satisfaction knowing
                                                                                                                                               Augusta-Richmond County. “In 1980,               Columbia County Animal Care and                  she is laying the groundwork for future
                                                                                                                                               Columbia County’s population was                 Control Department, the senior center,           generations. “One day I want to retire
                                                                                                                                               44,000, and in 25 years it has grown to          public transit, the Community Emergency          knowing someone is looking after me and
                                                                                                                                               101,000, with no slowdown in sight,”             Response Team (CERT), and the county’s           my children and grandchildren,” she
                                                                                                                                               Tucker says.                                     dive rescue team. “I am a multi-tasking          concludes. I — Lisa Janak

1                                                                                                   Winter 2006 EMERGENCY MANAGER              EMERGENCY MANAGER Winter 2006                                                                                                                 2
    In Brief                                                                                                                                                       Stewart County                              OHS-GEMA’s Mobile Communications
                                                                                                                                                                   Deputy EMA                                  Vehicle Becomes Temporary 9-1-1
                                                                                                                                                                   Director                                    Center for Dawson County
Rome-Floyd County LEOP Put to the Test                                                                                                                             Recognized for
During Full-scale Exercise                                                                                                                                         Role in Courthouse
      It is a pleasant October morning in                                                                                                                          Shooting
Rome, Georgia. A crowd of retirees has                                                                                                                                   Stewart County Emergency
already arrived at Mount Berry Mall for                                                                                                                            Management Agency Deputy Director
their daily walk, while at the nearby Floyd                                                                                                                        and Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
Medical Center’s Training Facility, 35 new                                                                                                                         Director Greg Stewart was recognized
employees prepare for a personnel briefing.                                                                                                                        by the American Police Hall of Fame for
      At approximately 8:00 a.m., a man                                                                                                                            his valor during a courthouse shooting.
with a large backpack is seen placing                                                                                                                                    The incident occurred on August
objects beneath several vehicles in the                                                                                                                            18, 2005, when officers responded to a
parking lot of the mall. He then enters the                                                                                                                        report of shots fired outside the Stewart
Floyd Medical Center’s training facility,                                                                                                                          County Courthouse in Lumpkin. A man
draws a small pistol, and takes everyone                                                                                                                           opened fire from the steps of the court-
hostage, all the while screaming about                                                                                                                             house, striking Lumpkin Police Chief Jay
“dirty bombs” and his ex-girlfriend. Before                                                                                                                        Stripling and Stewart County Deputy
anyone can stop him, the man detonates                                                                                                                             Clinton Rivers in the face. Paramedic
three bombs, killing four and injuring 35.                                                                                                                         Vance Streeter was then shot in the leg
After a stand-off with police, the man                                                                                                                             while rushing to their aid.
commits suicide.                                                                                                                                                                                               (From left to right) Dawson County Sergeant Micki Petrella, E9-1-1 Captain Debra Wimpy and Day Shift
                                                                                                                                                                         In the next few hours, Stewart,       Supervisor Sergeant Donna Rutledge shared close quarters when lightning took out the county’s 9-1-1
      Afterwards, the bomb squad clears the     This robot was used to disable potentially explosive devices during a full-scale exercise in Rome, Georgia. The    along with officers from nearby Webster,    equipment and they temporarily moved to OHS-GEMA’s MCV. “You have to like your partner,” Wimpy says.
scene and the fire department evaluates         drill simulated the response to a bomb threat at Mount Berry Mall and the nearby medical center.                   Sumter, Schley, Chattahoochee and
injuries and decontaminates the victims.                                                                                                                           Randolph counties, the Georgia State              When people dial 9-1-1, they want to                    “This device allows us to interlink fre-
Emergency medical services then trans-          and effectively to a major incident, allocate             Department, Floyd County Police                                                                      know someone will be on the other end to               quencies between cell phones, radios, and
                                                                                                                                                                   Patrol, and agents from the Georgia
ports the victims to nearby hospitals for       resources and personnel, coordinate city                  Department, Floyd County Emergency                                                                   assist them with their emergency. But                  computers, so that no matter what kind of
                                                                                                                                                                   Bureau of Investigation, arrived on the
further treatment.                              and county operations. The agencies also                  Management, Northwest Georgia Public                                                                 what happens when a 9-1-1 center has an                phone or radio you’re using, everyone can
                                                                                                                                                                   scene to assist. Chief Henry Brown of
      Fortunately, this was only a drill. The   demonstrated how they would maintain                      Health, Northwest Georgia Police                                                                     emergency of its own? Dawson County                    use the same frequency,” says Robert
                                                                                                                                                                   the Plains Police Department was shot in
scenario was invented by planners for a         inter-agency communications, and release                  Academy, Office of Homeland Security-                                                                officials asked that question when a bolt of           Belcher, state warning officer for OHS-
                                                                                                                                                                   the shoulder, and Major Brett Murray of
full-scale exercise held last October by the    accurate and timely information to the                    Georgia Emergency Management Agency,                                                                 lightning struck the county’s Enhanced (E)             GEMA. “We can even tie computers into
                                                                                                                                                                   the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office was
Rome-Floyd County Local Emergency               public using at least three different meth-               Floyd County 9-1-1, Redmond                                                                          9-1-1 center on December 4, 2005,                      it. It’s really unlimited as to what you can
                                                                                                                                                                   struck in his gun belt by a bullet, but
Operations Planning Committee (LEOP).           ods of dissemination.                                     Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Floyd                                                              destroying all communications equipment                do.”
                                                                                                                                                                   was not injured.
The exercise tested the abilities of law             Participating agencies included the                  EMS, Redmond and Floyd hospitals,                                                                    and knocking out emergency services.                          Belcher, along with OHS-GEMA’s
                                                                                                                                                                         The gunman, Marcus Dalton, ran a
enforcement and public health personnel         Northwest Georgia Bomb Squad, Rome                        Rome Transit Department and Mount                                                                    Worried that resident’s calls for help would           Tod Keys, who previously was a task force
                                                                                                          Berry Square Mall Security. I
                                                                                                                                                                   few blocks from the courthouse and
and first responders to respond quickly         Fire Department, Rome Police                                                                                                                                   go unanswered, they asked the Office of                commander for Dawson County, and
                                                                                                                                                                   took two hostages. Hours later, the
                                                                                                                                                                   hostages were freed, and officers           Homeland Security-Georgia Emergency                    State Warning Officer Charles Bryant had
                                                                                                                                                                   returned fire, killing Dalton.              Management Agency (OHS-GEMA) to                        the MCV on location within three hours
    Georgia’s State, City Evacuation Plans Under Review                                                                                                                  For his efforts, Stewart was pre-     assist.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     In response to the request, OHS-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and stayed late to run phone lines and set
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      up computers. Soon, a cramped but serv-
                                                                                                                                                                   sented with the Civilian Medal of
         The Office of Homeland                                                                                            feasible plan based on                  Appreciation, the Knights of Justice and    GEMA sent its mobile communications                    iceable 9-1-1 center was up and operating.
    Security-Georgia Emergency                                                                                             realistic scenarios. OHS-               the Life Saving Award at a ceremony         vehicle (MCV) to the scene. The MCV is                        “We were very fortunate to have them
    Management Agency (OHS-                                                                                                GEMA, Georgia                           held at the Stewart County Courthouse       deployed to areas where communication                  working with us,” says Dawson County
    GEMA) has completed a                                                                                                  Department of                           on October 28, 2005. Also recognized for    capabilities have been obstructed due to               E9-1-1 Captain Debra Wimpy.
    comprehensive review of                                                                                                Transportation (DOT),                   their heroism were Chief Stripling and      natural or man-made disasters. The unit is                    The storm caused more than
    state and metro area evacu-                                                                                            Georgia Department of                   Corporal Dan Simmons of the Lumpkin         outfitted with state-of-the-art satellite              $100,000 in damage to the 9-1-1 Center,
    ation plans, under the guid-                                                                                           Human Resources, and                    Police Department, Chief Brown, Major       radios and phones, traditional and cellular            and repairs took more than two weeks to
    ance of planning director                   Homeland Security on the status of state                                   City of Atlanta and Fulton              Murray, Paramedic Vance Streeter of         phones, HAM radio and Southern LINC                    complete. The MCV returned to OHS-
    Jonna West. The project was launched in     and local evacuation plans.                              County officials collaborated on the effort.              Stewart County EMS, and Deputy Rivers       equipment, and it can provide backup                   GEMA on December 28, 2005.
    the wake of Hurricane Katrina in response        The law requires Georgia to submit a                DOT also has an urban evacuation study                    and dispatcher Connie Thornton of the       9-1-1 communication capabilities.It also is                   “It really made things a lot easier for
    to recent federal legislation, which man-   self-assessment and a “certification of                  under way that addresses a one-mile                       Stewart County Sheriff’s Office. I          equipped with an ACU1000 communica-                    us, and services were not disrupted by the
    dates a report to The U.S. Office of        plan.” The state’s response addresses a                  radius in downtown in Atlanta. I                                                                      tions device.                                          lightning,” says Wimpy. I

3                                                                                                            Winter 2006 EMERGENCY MANAGER                        EMERGENCY MANAGER Winter 2006                                                                                                                       4
Coweta                                                                                                                                                        Hall County’s Centralized Emergency
Wake-up Calls                                                                                                                                                  Services Complex Finally a Reality
Save Lives                                                                                                                                                           By David Kimbrell, Hall County Fire Chief and Emergency Management Agency Director
      Morning wake-up calls aren’t just for
hotel guests anymore. At least not in

Coweta County, where 9-1-1 officials                                                                                                                          ome to more than 150 interna-
place daily morning phone calls to make                                                                                                                       tional corporations, a busy inter-
sure older residents are safe and well.                                                                                                                       state highway, a major railway
      The RUOK program began 16 years                                                                                                              and portions of the nation’s largest man-
ago when a Coweta County family saw a                                                                                                              made lake created by the U.S. Army Corps
segment about the program on ABC’s                                                                                                                 of Engineers, Hall County is the center of
Good Morning America, then contacted                                                                                                               business and residential activity in north-
Coweta Emergency Management Agency                                                                                                                 east Georgia. Providing emergency services
and 9-1-1 Director Eddie Ball to see if it                                                                                                         to the county’s growing population that
could be implemented locally. The family
                                               At the Coweta County 9-1-1 center, operators make wellness calls to senior citizens each morning.   now stands at 163,000, and a daytime
members, who wanted to remain anony-                                                                                                               population of nearly one-quarter million
mous, paid the start-up costs, and the nec-                                                                                                        can be challenging.
essary equipment and licensing was pur-                                                                                                                  Hall County’s Fire and Emergency
chased from Northland Innovations in                                                                                                               Medical Services (EMS) Department leads
Minnesota.                                       Newton County Latest                                                                              the county’s preparedness efforts and its
                                                                                                                                                   response to natural and man-made                The new Hall County emergency operations center was constructed after two years of planning. It houses
      The number of daily calls has varied
                                                                                                                                                   disasters. A year ago, fire and EMS staff,
from 20 to 100 over the years. Currently,
9-1-1 operators make 35 to 40 calls each
                                                 StormReady Community                                                                              along with 9-1-1 and emergency manage-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   emergency management, fire and emergency services, and E9-1-1 personnel.

day at a pre-arranged time. However, the                                                                                                           ment personnel, moved into a long-await-        transmission system. When complete, the                      Wright began his new duties by plac-
call system can be automated if the need                                                                                                           ed, state-of-the-art emergency services         system will provide reliable and expand-                ing a priority on spreading the word about
                                                       Newton County has
overwhelms the operators.                                                                                                                          complex. The move consolidates fire and         able voice, data and video communications               disaster preparedness to residents by pro-
                                                 the distinction of becom-
      Clients are asked to notify the 9-1-1                                                                                                        emergency services, Enhanced 9-1-1              for public safety and law enforcement per-              viding free information from FEMA on
                                                 ing part of the growing
center when they will be out of town.                                                                                                              (E9-1-1), and emergency management              sonnel while meeting Hall County’s grow-                topics such as building a saferoom andr
                                                 list of recognized
They are not permitted to connect answer-                                                                                                          operations into a central location.             ing demand for rapid emergency response.                preparing a disaster supplies kit. Brochures
                                                 StormReady communi-
ing machines to their phones. If no one                                                                                                                  At the heart of the new complex is an          Construction on the new center coin-               were placed in the complex’s lobby and in
                                                 ties. StormReady, a pro-
answers the wake-up call and the person                                                                                                            E9-1-1 call center, equipped with the           cided with an ambitious building program                the planning department, which issues
                                                 gram initiated by the
cannot be located at the Newnan-Coweta                                                                                                             industry’s best emergency call-handling         that began in 1999 which will ultimately                building permits.
                                                 National Weather Service
County Senior Center, dispatchers have                                                                                                             system that provides precise information        double the number of county fire stations                    “There are a lot of positive things we
                                                 (NWS) in partnership
information on how to obtain keys to the                                                                      • Develop a formal hazardous         on each incoming call.                          from eight to 16.                                       can do to prepare and educate people,
                                                 with the Office of Homeland Security-
                                                                                                        weather plan, which includes training            A caller’s identity and location is            Emergency management is changing                   which helps us greatly in the event of an
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           emergency,” says Wright. I
client’s home, and they will send emer-          Georgia Emergency Management
gency responders.                                                                                       severe weather spotters and holding        linked into Hall County’s Graphic               and evolving daily, and Hall County is
                                                 Agency (OHS-GEMA) and the
      “This program has saved at least three                                                            emergency exercises.                       Information System database, which maps         growing with it. In September 2005, Hall
                                                 Emergency Management Association of
or four lives over the past few years,” says                                                                  Fifty-three Georgia counties have    every square foot of county land. Each dis-     County officials hired William Wright,
                                                 Georgia (EMAG), is designed to encour-
Ball. “Many of our clients don’t have fami-      age communities to create a severe                     completed the certification process to     patcher can instantly access an aerial photo    former director of the White County                        New EMAG Officers
ly in the immediate area, and this is an                                                                receive StormReady recognition. Other      of the caller’s location — even if the caller   Emergency Management Agency, as the                             The Emergency Management
                                                 weather action plan.
important lifeline.”                                                                                    counties throughout Georgia are encour-    is using a cell phone — and the where-          county’s first emergency management                        Association of Georgia (EMAG)
                                                       Although specific StormReady
      Ida Johnson, site director for the                                                                aged to apply to their NWS office for      abouts of every first-response unit.            coordinator. Previously, emergency man-                    elected new officers during its annual
                                                 guidelines vary depending on the size of
Newnan-Coweta Senior Center, describes                                                                  StormReady recognition. StormReady               Simultaneously, the incoming call is      agement duties were “add-ons” to other                     conference, which was held November
                                                 the community, to be designated in the
RUOK as a “wonderful program and a                                                                      communities that are also in the           routed to Computer-Aided Dispatch soft-         positions.                                                 13 - 16, 2005, on St. Simons Island.
                                                 program requires the following:
great help for people who live alone.”                                                                  National Flood Insurance Program may       ware, which verifies the address instantly           Wright couldn’t have started at a more                     Kenny Calhoun, Dooly County
                                                       • Establish a 24-hour warning point
      Ball emphasizes the community serv-                                                               receive additional Insurance Services      and queries a local database for people,        appropriate time. A tornado spun by                        Emergency Management Agency
                                                 and emergency operations center;
ice value of the program and notes that                                                                 Organization (ISO) points, thereby pos-    vehicles and property in the area. As a         Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf                      (EMA) was elected president, Jim
                                                       • Develop more than one way to
9-1-1 operators and RUOK clients usually                                                                sibly lowering flood insurance premiums    result, critical time is saved in emergencies   Coast two weeks prior to Wright’s arrival,                 Anderson, Bryan County EMA is first
                                                 receive and disseminate severe weather
exchange Christmas cards and gift baskets.                                                              in the community.                          and first responders receive accurate, perti-   tore a path through the northeastern por-                  vice president, and Latravius Smith,
                                                 warnings and forecasts to alert the
He says there has never been a complaint                                                                      For more information on severe       nent information when lives are on the          tion of Hall County.                                       Macon-Bibb County EMA, is second
or a negative comment about the program                                                                 weather and the StormReady program         line.                                                Wright works to make sure the                         vice president.
                                                       • Create a system that monitors
since its inception.                                                                                    visit the NWS Web site at                        The new radio and telephone equip-        county is prepared for any type of emer-                        In addition, William Wright, Hall
                                                 local weather conditions;
      “We’re glad to hear their voices every                                                            www.nws.noaa.gov/stormready or the         ment is the foundation for a new 800            gency. His responsibilities include assess-                County EMA and Suzanne Lord,
                                                       • Promote the importance of public
                                                                                                                                                   MHz wireless communications system.             ing hazards, training emergency operations                 Atlanta-Fulton County EMA were
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              elected secretary and treasurer. I
morning and they’re glad to hear ours,”          readiness through community seminars;                  OHS-GEMA Web site at
says Ball. I                                     and                                                    www.gema.state.ga.us. I                    This $16 million system will be built out       center staff, reviewing response plans and
                                                                                                                                                   over two years with towers, antennae and a      educating the public.
5                                                                                                          Winter 2006 EMERGENCY MANAGER           EMERGENCY MANAGER Winter 2006                                                                                                                            6
Photos courtesy of Cobb County EMA

                                                                                                                                                                            After Katrina, Cobb CERT leaders
                                                                                                                                                                      reevaluated the program’s effectiveness,
                                                                                                                                                                      and, as a result, new training opportunities
                                                                                                                                                                      were created. Advanced courses covering
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      CERT County Round-up
                                                                                                                                                                      sheltering, triage, administrative support
                                                                                                                                                                      in the emergency operations center, and         Columbia County CERT                               months and are conducted by first
                                                                                                                                                                      initial site assistance were added in                 Since January 2004, the Columbia             responders, who volunteer their time
                                                                                                                                                                      December 2005, to better prepare volun-         County Emergency Management                        and talent, and several CERT members
                                                                                                                                                                      teers for the next disaster.                    Agency (EMA) has trained and certified             who have taken a “train-the-trainer”
                                                                                                                                                                            Public service announcements,             135 citizens for the Columbia County               course to become instructors.
                                                                                                                                                                      brochures, pamphlets and citizen action         Community Emergency Response Team                        Monthly meetings are held the third
                                                                                                                                                                      guides also were developed to increase          (CERT). Last year, Columbia CERT                   Tuesday of each month and often fea-
                                                                                                                                                                      awareness for the program. In addition, a       members demonstrated their “willing-               ture guest speakers. Last fall, an instruc-
                                                                                                                                                                      Web site expansion is under way to enable       ness to serve” by volunteering in a vari-          tor from Georgia Power’s Plant Bowen
Cobb County CERT members Mary Brittner (left) and Betty Michalski (right)                                                                                             CERT members to communicate more                ety of ways.                                       presented Power-Town USA, where
distribute information at the North Georgia fair, which was held September 22 to                                                                                      effectively, and a newsletter is being creat-         CERT members participated in a               members learned about protective meas-
October 2, 2005. More than 200 volunteers were recruited at the fair.                                                                                                 ed to highlight achievements. Competi-          full-scale hazardous materials transporta-         ures when working around downed
                                                                                                                                                                      tions to determine the “most prepared           tion exercise, performed
CERT Spotlight:                                                                                                                                                       community” also are planned.
                                                                                                                                                                            “The program is well accepted by the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      in a new national CERT
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      training video, conducted
                                                                                                                                                                      community and is growing every day,”            presentations for commu-
Cobb County                                                                                                                                                           declares Lloyd. In fact, more than 200
                                                                                                                                                                      applications and 1,300 leads were received
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      nity groups, and assisted
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      with local events. They
                                                                                                                                                                      from prospective volunteers at the CERT         also answered calls at
By Kandice Weech, Web Coordinator                                                                                                                                     booth at the North Georgia Fair.                Forestry Services from cit-
                                                                                                                                                                            “I would encourage everyone to join       izens requesting burn per-
                                                         Cobb CERT has

         obb County’s Community                                                                                                                                       the CERT program,” asserts Atabaigi. “It’s
                                                         made its mark as                                                                                                                                             mits when an open burn-
         Emergency Response Team                                                                                                                                      free, a great place to get to know your
                                                         one of the most                                                                                                                                              ing ban ended last fall,
         (CERT) didn’t even have to travel                                                                                                                            neighbors, and you gain knowledge on
                                                         active programs                                                                                                                                              freeing up the agency’s
far from home to make a difference in the                                                                                                                             how to prepare your family, neighbors and
                                                         in the state.                                                                                                                                                two staff members to
lives of Hurricane Katrina victims.                                                                                                                                   friends in the event of a disaster.”
                                                         “Cobb County                                                                                                                                                 respond to fires, if needed. Floyd County CERT graduates pose with Floyd County EMA Director
      Robbie Atabaigi, a CERT volunteer                                                                                                                                     Lloyd attributes the program’s success                                     Scotty E. Hancock (bottom row, far right) and Senator Preston
                                                         serves as an excel-                                                                                                                                                The Columbia
since March 2004, passed out flyers to the                                                                                                                            to the support of Cobb County manager                                            Smith (bottom row, second from right).
                                                         lent model for                                                                                                                                               County CERT program is
thousands of evacuees who arrived in                                                                                                                                  and EMA director David Hankerson, local
                                                         other counties to                                                                                                                                            funded through grants
metro Atlanta and sought help at Cobb                                                                                                                                 officials, the public safety community and                                                         power lines. In another meeting, mem-
                                                         implement a pro-                                                                                                                                             provided by the U.S. Department of
County’s Joint Resource Recovery Center                                                                                                                               CERT volunteers. Information gathered                                                              bers learned how to recognize a meth
                                                         gressive and suc-                                                                                                                                            Homeland Security. Seasoned instruc-
(JRRC) at Life University in Marietta,                                                                                                                                from county officials was used to develop a                                                        lab.
                                                         cessful CERT                                                                                                                                                 tors from Columbia County EMA,
Georgia. “It felt good to be able to help in                                                                                                                          CERT team template, which provides                                                                       Community organizations and gov-
                                                         program,” says                                                                                                                                               Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue,
some small way at the resource center, to                                                                                                                             information other counties would need to                                                           ernment officials have realized the bene-
                                                         Georgia’s Citizen                                                                                                                                            Grovetown Department of Public Safety,
talk and help bring a sense of calm and                                                                                                                               run a successful program.                                                                          fits of this program. CERT members
                                                         Corps Program                                                                                                                                                Harlem Department of Public Safety,
also provide information on where they                                                                                                                                      However, Lloyd knows there is always                                                         helped run a shelter for the Red Cross
                                                         Manager Jami                                                                                                                                                 Columbia County Sheriff ’s Office, Gold
needed to go to get reestablished,” she                                                                                                                               room for improvement. “The Cobb CERT                                                               after an apartment fire left approximate-
                                                         Leverett.                                                                                                                                                    Cross Emergency Medical Services, and
says.                                                                            Victoria Turnkey (top left) and Sam Peng (top right) recruit new volunteers at the   program still has room to grow and                                                                 ly 40 people homeless, participated in
                                                               The program                                                                                                                                            the Augusta Chapter of the American
      CERT volunteers were discouraged                                           North Georgia Fair. Attendees were encouraged to pick up information (below).        expand. One of the challenges is to keep                                                           several disaster drills this year, worked in
                                                         is free and open                                                                                                                                             Red Cross volunteer their time to teach
from unsolicited deployment to the Gulf                                                                                                                               volunteers active and motivated,” she says.                                                        a disaster relief collection station sorting
                                                         to all above the                                                                                                                                             training classes during the evening.
region, because, notes Cobb County                                                                                     Once trained, CERT volunteers are              To that end, Cobb CERT leaders created a                                                           donated goods, assisted the local fire
                                                         age of 16. CERT volunteers must attend                                                                                                                             To receive a free copy of the CERT
Emergency Management Agency (EMA)                                                                                 ready to educate the community about the            working group to develop future projects                                                           department with installing fire detectors,
                                                         annual training and pass a background                                                                                                                        training video or to learn more about
deputy director Lanita Lloyd, “This prac-                                                                         importance of preparing for unexpected              and added more online refresher courses.                                                           and raised awareness for disaster pre-
                                                         check.                                                                                                                                                       Columbia CERT, contact Pam Tucker at
tice could endanger first responders and                                                                          dangers, including how to report suspi-                   Atabaigi understands the need for                                                            paredness by manning a booth at the
                                                               Federal and state guidelines require 20                                                                                                                ptucker@columbiacountyga.gov, call
threaten overall operational control.”                                                                            cious activity. They also provide informa-          constant training and is preparing to take                                                         local county fair.
                                                         hours of CERT training. Courses include                                                                                                                      (706) 868-3303 or visit www.columbia-
      CERT educates people on how to                                                                              tion on sheltering in place, first aid and          these advanced classes. “I want to be pre-                                                               In addition, Floyd County CERT
                                                         emergency preparedness, fire safety, med-                                                                                                                    countyga.gov. — Pam Tucker, Director,
prepare for disasters that may impact their                                                                       the importance of warning sirens.                   pared because it’s not a matter of if some-                                                        members were among the volunteers
                                                         ical operations, light search and rescue                                                                                                                     Columbia County Emergency Services
area and trains volunteers in basic disaster                                                                           According to Lloyd, Cobb CERT has              thing will happen, it’s a matter of when,”                                                         who went to the Gulf Coast after
response skills such as fire safety, light               operations, disaster psychology, team                    grown quickly in less than two years. The           she concludes.                                  Floyd County CERT                                  Hurricane Katrina. They delivered des-
search and rescue, team organization, and                organization, and terrorism. Additional                  program now has a cadre of 350 trained                    To learn more about Cobb’s CERT                 Launched in March 2005, the                  perately needed diesel fuel to a Mobile,
disaster medical operations. CERT volun-                 refresher courses are also available.                    volunteers from all walks of life including         program visit www.ema.cobbcountyga.gov.         Rome-Floyd County Community                        Alabama, feeding station, helped feed
teers use these abilities to assist others in            Training is provided by a variety of agen-               students, retirees, doctors, military person-       To learn how to start a CERT program in         Emergency Response Team (CERT) now                 evacuees, and assisted in clean-up and
an emergency when professionals are                      cies, including Cobb County government,                  nel, lawyers and housewives, who are ready          your community, visit the Citizen Corps         boasts 61 members. Training classes are            recovery. — Scotty E. Hancock, Director,
                                                                                                                                                                      Web site at www.citizencorps.org. I                                                                Floyd County EMA I
unable to immediately respond.                           police, fire and rescue departments, and                 to assist in an emergency at a moment’s                                                             scheduled approximately every two
      Since its inception in January 2004,               emergency medical services.                              notice.

7                                                                                                                  Winter 2006 EMERGENCY MANAGER                      EMERGENCY MANAGER Winter 2006                                                                                                                 8
                                                                                                                                                Photo courtesy of Rachel Buice, City of Columbus
                                                                                                                                                                                                   municipal personnel and establishes uni-

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Photo courtesy of Rachel Buice, City of Columbus
                                                                                                                                                                                                   form operating procedures, including how
                                                                                                                                                                                                   tree damage, communications and record
                                                                                                                                                                                                   keeping will be handled. Finally, it details
                                                                                                                                                                                                   recovery, addressing how trees will be
                                                                                                                                                                                                   restored through planting and care by
                                                                                                                                                                                                   trained volunteers and municipal workers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Columbus’ emergency storm response
                                                                                                                                                                                                   plan classifies storms as “minor” (fallen
                                                                                                                                                                                                   trees and road blockages can be remedied
                                                                                                                                                                                                   within 24 hours) and “major” (road clear-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   ance, fallen trees and overhead hazards
                                                                                                                                                                                                   cannot be completed within 24 hours and
                                                                                                                                                                                                   may require additional resources from
                                                                                                                                                                                                   other divisions). Procedures are similar for
                                                                                                                                                                                                   both types of storms, beginning with
                                                                                                                                                                                                   receiving and dispatching damage reports.         On-site chipping services help to quickly remove storm debris. It is recommended that communities maintain
                                                                                                                                                                                                         In order to prioritize damage reports       standing contracts with storm-related vendors all year. Details such as pricing should be spelled out.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   called into the city, an operator will ask
                                                                                                                                                                                                   specific questions, including the caller’s        dite the removal of debris, but if circum-                  However, James, Buice and others
                                                                                                                                                                                                   location, whether anyone is injured or            stances prevent this, the material may be              who manage the debris left by storms,
                                                                                                                                                                                                   trapped, if a tree is down, whether a power       moved to special staging areas.                        land clearing and ongoing maintenance
                                                                                                                                                                                                   line is involved, or if a tree is blocking a            Tracking storm damage and subse-                 lament the lack of recycling opportunities.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   street, sidewalk, private home, business or       quent tree loss is crucial to the long-term            Besides composting, which requires great
                                                                                                                                                                                                   car. Each answer will help determine the          success of a city’s tree program. All crews            amounts of space and time, and paper mill
                                                                                                                                                                                                   proper allocation of equipment and per-           involved in storm clean up should use a                customers, few markets exist for wood
                                                                                                                                                                                                   sonnel during a storm. First priority             storm damage master log or similar form                waste. “We see a lot of natural materials go
                                                                                                                                                                                                   response will go to injured people caught         to record information on each call. Labor              to waste in our job,” says James, whose
                                                                                                                                                                                                   in a car or home by a fallen tree, followed       and equipment hours for the storm and                  firm processes material generated by land
                                                                                                                                                                                                   by blocked streets, residences and high-risk      clean up should be recorded.                           clearing as well as storm and maintenance
                                                                                                                                                                                                   situations.                                             “The post-storm tree assessment is               waste. “I’d like to see all of us get together
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Because the purpose of all emergency        crucial,” emphasizes Buice. “If you don’t              and figure out how to use this resource.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                   response procedures is to bring order to          go in and assess the trees where you’ve had                 The Georgia Forestry Commission,

            Best Storm Clean-ups Planned Early                                                                                                                                                     what may be a chaotic situation, commu-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   nication among management, administra-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   tive staff, field personnel and crew leaders
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     damage, you’re not only risking an increase
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     in liability, but also putting the safety and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     well-being of the public in danger.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            with support from researchers at the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Georgia Institute of Technology and the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            University of Georgia, is investigating the
                                              By Stasia Kelly, Georgia Forestry Commission                                                                                                         is critical to successful operations. A loss of         Because trees can be damaged in ways             viability of marketing Georgia’s wood
                                                                                                                                                                                                   normal communication methods should               that are not apparent to the untrained eye,            waste as an energy alternative to fossil
                                                 community manages its urban forest to                Also, “our tree risk management plan                                                         be anticipated, and alternative methods,          a certified arborist should perform the                fuels. According to Sam Shelton, director

    f emergency management personnel in
    Georgia hadn’t already crossed the last      reduce risk and liability while increasing     includes a recommendation to inventory                                                             such as two-way radios, ham radios and            post-storm tree assessment, she says. Once             for Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy
    “t” and dotted the last “i” on their         the safety and welfare of its citizens.”       all our public trees by Global Positioning                                                         cell phones should be identified. Clear           a tree has been damaged, it has a higher               Initiative, Georgia has “a potential gold
storm debris plans, the 2005 hurricane                 Buice believes successful storm          Service (GPS),” says Buice. Results are                                                            communication channels among emer-                probability of failure. Buice also says that           mine that can offset rising gasoline prices
season should have provided the impetus.         cleanup hinges on developing a tree man-       integrated into the Geographical                                                                   gency agencies and personnel should be set        remedial pruning after storms and                      and grow the state’s economy at the same
Televised images of storms raking coastal        agement plan where trees are routinely         Information System (GIS).                                                                          up. A phone number and staff contact for          throughout the year could reduce the                   time.”
areas, topped by extensive tornado damage        evaluated and pruned by professional                 These objectives have enabled City of                                                        the public should be established and              probability of more damage during future                    If those predictions materialize,
across a myriad of states, emphasized the        arborists and standing contracts are           Columbus officials to proactively manage                                                           publicized, and the media should be               weather events.                                        Columbus and other Georgia communities
importance of properly caring for trees to       secured for debris removal long before a       trees for risk. Buice says the goal is to                                                          used to communicate accurate                            The thousands of pounds of debris                managing tree waste might have to add a
make them less susceptible to storm dam-         storm starts brewing.                          manage the urban forest so that trees do                                                           information about damages and recovery            left by a storm are another weighty consid-            chapter to their emergency storm plans:
                                                       Tree risk management and emergency       not become public hazards through lack of                                                          times.                                            eration for city planners. Buice’s private             “What to do with the Income Generated
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            by Tree Debris.” I
age and developing an emergency response
plan for the tons of debris they leave           storm response plans incorporate recom-        care or when they are damaged during                                                                     Buice believes it is crucial to have        composting contractors grind wood waste
behind.                                          mendations by a professional municipal         routine utility or construction activity.                                                          signed standing contracts with storm-             into 4- to 6-inch chunks, and then send                     Information on tree safety and storm
     Officials in Columbus, Georgia, rec-        arborist, on staff or under contract. In       “All those pieces need to be in place before                                                       related contractors in place year round.          them to paper mills in Georgia and                     planning may be found by visiting the
ognize the importance of developing a tree       Columbus, trained staff arborists perform      an emergency storm response plan is writ-                                                          Contracts should spell out pricing and            Alabama to be used as boiler fuel.                     Georgia Forestry Commission’s Sustainable
program before a severe storm turns them         a five-year routine evaluation and pruning     ten,” Buice adds.                                                                                  other important details so there are no sur-            “We do about 35,000 tons a year with             Community Forestry Program’s Web site at
into hazards. “A tree risk management            maintenance on public trees. In addition,            Moreover, Columbus has an exten-                                                             prises. “I can’t emphasize that enough,”          Columbus,” says Kerry James, president of              www.gatrees.org.
plan is part of our emergency storm              the municipal arborist signs off on every      sive, ever-evolving emergency storm                                                                she says. Buice relies on the standing con-       Newnan, Ga.-based Southern Land                             Information on tree risk management
response plan,” says Rachel Buice, deputy        site that receives a development permit to     response plan that covers planning for                                                             tracts she has with trucking contractors for      Improvement, Inc. “We try to turn every                and emergency storm response plans are
director of public services for the              head off any potential problems that could     severe weather as well as response and                                                             debris removal. “If this area gets hit hard       bit of that over to the paper mills.” Inert            available by visiting the Natural Resource
Columbus Consolidated Government. “A             increase the chance of tree failure and dan-   recovery. The plan identifies sources of                                                           with an ice storm, we got ’em first!” she         material is transported to one of two                  Consulting Web site at
tree risk management plan defines how a          ger to the public.                             additional assistance, clarifies the roles of                                                      exclaims. On-site chipping services expe-         Muscogee County landfills.                             www.nrc-trees.com.

9                                                                                                 Winter 2006 EMERGENCY MANAGER                                                                    EMERGENCY MANAGER Winter 2006                                                                                                                            10
                                                                                                                          capacity to spread easily from person to      The testing labs look for a statistically sig-      and other experts. The Georgia
                                                                                                                          person, the result will be a pandemic         nificant number of birds that would reflect         Department of Agriculture would be the

                                                                                                                          influenza outbreak that will have wide-       90 percent of the population of potentially         lead agency, assisted by the Department of
                                                                                                                          spread social, economic and health conse-     sick birds.                                         Human Resources’ (DHR) Public Health
                                                                                                                          quences throughout the world.                                                                     Division and OHS-GEMA. The U.S.
                                                                                                                          Fortunately, extraordinary measures are       Infected birds                                      Secretary of Agriculture would be asked to
                                                                                                                          being taken to prevent its onset and to            In the event of a presumptive positive         declare an Extraordinary State of

     braces for                                                                                                           respond aggressively if an outbreak does
                                                                                                                                                                        result, the farm in question would be iso-
                                                                                                                                                                        lated, and test material sent to the Foreign
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Emergency, and the Governor would have
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the option to request a Presidential disaster
                                                                                                                                                                        Animal Disaster Diagnostic Center at                declaration.

     Bird Flu                                                                                                             Aggressive monitoring for
                                                                                                                          avian influenza
                                                                                                                               Georgia officials have put an intense
                                                                                                                          monitoring program in place, according to
                                                                                                                                                                        Plum Island, New York. If additional test-
                                                                                                                                                                        ing at Plum Island confirmed the positive
                                                                                                                                                                        report, the Georgia Department of
                                                                                                                                                                        Agriculture would request activation of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 “Georgia’s response is consistent with
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the national response plan,” says Williams.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            “It has the groundwork for the integration
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            of federal response, and it mirrors the fed-
                                                                                                                          Office of Homeland Security-Georgia           OHS-GEMA’s State Operations Center                  eral response.”

     Threat                                                                                                               Emergency Management Agency (OHS-
                                                                                                                          GEMA) Agro-terrorism Specialist Dr. Paul
                                                                                                                          Williams. Ongoing monitoring is con-
                                                                                                                          ducted daily at 11 poultry labs around the
                                                                                                                                                                        (SOC) under Emergency Support
                                                                                                                                                                        Function (ESF) -11, the Agriculture and
                                                                                                                                                                        Natural Resources section.
                                                                                                                                                                             The SOC activation also would trig-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Williams says the poultry industry
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            represents a major part of Georgia’s econo-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            my, and “I think Georgia is doing a better
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            job than most states in preparing to deal
                                                                                                                          state, jointly operated by the Georgia        ger the deployment of state agricultural            with bird flu.”
     By Buzz Weiss,                                                                                                       Department of Agriculture and the             response teams (SART), which include
     Public Affairs Coordinator                                                                                           Georgia Poultry Federation. Two veteri-       veterinarians and veterinary technicians            Infected humans
                                                                                                                          nary diagnostic labs also conduct ongoing     from the state and federal departments of                A more ominous scenario, however,
                                                                                                                          surveillance.                                 agriculture and the private sector, public          would be pandemic influenza in humans,
                                                                                                                               Williams says of the estimated 1.6       health veterinarians and epidemiologists,           which could be precipitated by exposure to
                                                                                                                          million birds “on the ground” on any          representatives of the University of                infected birds or introduced by travelers.
                                                                                                                          given day, 4 percent die of natural causes.   Georgia Cooperative Extension Service,              Health experts say the likelihood of being

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Source: UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Photographer: John Amis
                                              Stories of the 1918 Spanish Flu pan-

     f the spectre of terrorism and the ire
     of Mother Nature haven’t been            demic, which left a half-million
     enough to test America’s mettle, the     Americans dead and as many as 50 mil-
 threat of avian influenza – or bird flu -    lion dead worldwide, fuel fears of a pan-
 looms grimly as the newest menace to         demic influenza.
 our borders.                                      Although the likelihood of an out-
       Bird flu is the term coined to iden-   break of bird cases in Georgia is consid-
 tify a specific virus, H5N1, which           ered low, a bird flu outbreak could be
 health officials say has existed in domes-   devastating to Georgia on a number of
 tic birds in Asia since 1997. It naturally   levels. For instance, the introduction of
 occurs in wild birds and waterfowl, but      avian influenza into Georgia’s poultry
 can “jump” to domestic birds such as         industry could pose a tremendous eco-
 chickens and turkeys. While there have       nomic threat to the state, even if the
 been no human cases reported, there          virus never becomes a threat to humans.
 have been outbreaks in poultry in Texas,     In addition, if the avian virus now seen
 California, and the New England states.      in Asia and Eastern Europe develops the                                                                                                                  On an average day, more than 27.5 million pounds of chicken meat and
                                                                                                                                                                                                       8.2 million table eggs are produced by Georgia farmers.

11                                                                                        Winter 2006 EMERGENCY MANAGER   EMERGENCY MANAGER Winter 2006                                                                                                                       12
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Karen Waters, vice president for pro-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       E-Team Ensures Homeland

                                                                                                         Source: UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Photographer: John Amis
                                                                                                                                                                                                  fessional services for the Georgia Hospital
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Association, says Georgia’s 160 hospitals
                                                                                                                                                                                                  work in cooperation with public health
                                                                                                                                                                                                  officials, and that they carefully follow
                                                                                                                                                                                                  “trending” information, such as the avail-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Security Interoperability
                                                                                                                                                                                                  ability of vaccines and the number and                                                               By Dená Brummer, Communications Analyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                  nature of emergency room visits.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Waters says pandemic influenza
                                                                                                                                                                                                  would be handled like any other infectious
                                                                                                                                                                                                  disease, but points out that capacity and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     activities,” explains

                                                                                                                                                                                                  equipment would be major issues. She says                   here is a new weapon in the war in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              terrorism.                             Sergeant Azie B.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  a regional coordinating system would give
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Forget all about the latest guns and   Horne of the Atlanta
                                                                                                                                                                                                  hospitals that become swamped the capa-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    gadgets.                                         Police Department’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                  bility to transfer patients to other facilities
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Imagine a Web-based program that           Homeland Security
                                                                                                                                                                                                  and discharge or divert non-critical
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    allows metro Atlanta law enforcement             Intelligence Unit. “I
                                                                                                                                                                                                  patients. She said hospitals would also
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    agencies to virtually share and exchange         cannot think of any
                                                                                                                                                                                                  work closely with the news media to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    terrorism tips and leads, generate               other vehicle that
                                                                                                                                                                                                  disseminate vital information.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Geographical Information System (GIS)            could effectively do
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Health care would have to be
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    maps and share and track their assets in         this.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                  rationed, and both Williams and Lance say
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    real time.                                             By simply logging
                                                                                                                                                                                                  “self isolation” would be the most effective
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This program is not stuck in the           onto the GBI’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                  way to deal with the crisis.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    mind of an information technology geek.          E-Team Web site, par-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It is a reality known as E-Team.                 ticipating agencies can
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not a new flu                                                                                      record tips, share
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For years, E-Team has been used in
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Avian influenza is nothing new, and                                                          information and com-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the emergency management field as a crisis
                                                                                                                                                                                                  has mutated over the years, creating some                                                          municate in real-time
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    management tool during natural disasters.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  types that can be transmitted to humans.                                                           using a common
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 GBI Inspector Bob
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But in the aftermath of 9/11, the Georgia                                    Hardin (above right)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Currently there are two potentially                                                                interface. The agencies was instrumental in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the
                                                                                                                                                                                                  zoonotic types, H5 and H7.                                                                         can share tips through      bringing E-Team
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mutations would have to occur before                                                         the GTIP information technology to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Center (GISAC) decided to give E-Team a
                                                                                                                                                                                                  the virus could be easily transmitted from                                                         entry form, track
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Georgia to fight
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    new use in the battle of preventing terror-                                  terrorism. Local law
 If Georgia was a country, it would be the fourth largest poultry-producing country in the world.                                                                                                 person to person. If that happened, Lance                                                          events with incident
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ism in Georgia.                                                              enforcement
                                                                                                                                                                                                  says the most likely means of transmission                                                         reports, monitor            personnel are being
infected by poultry is extremely small in                very young and the very old and people                                                                                                                                                           “From the 9/11 attacks, we realized
                                                                                                                                                                                                  would be respiratory droplets. She says a                                                          resource requests and       trained to use
the United States, since the avian virus has             with chronic medical conditions or com-                                                                                                                                                    that Georgia did not have an effective sys-
                                                                                                                                                                                                  cough or sneeze could propel the droplets                                                          critical assets and even
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 E-Team (right) in
not yet been found here, and not many                    promised immune systems, pandemic                                                                                                                                                          tem of sharing terrorism information and                                     order to pool
                                                                                                                                                                                                  six feet, and that the virus may survive                                                           disseminate informa-
people have close contact with poultry.                  influenza is less discriminating. There is no                                                                                                                                              intelligence between local and state agen-                                   information and
                                                                                                                                                                                                  eight hours on environmental surfaces.                                                             tion through e-mail,        share tips with
      State epidemiologist Dr. Susan Lance               immunity to this virus in humans.                                                                                                                                                          cies,” says GBI Inspector Bob Hardin,
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Covering one’s mouth and nose while                                                                pagers, and text mes-       other departments.
says the transmission of the virus from an                    “Pandemic influenza is different from                                                                                                                                                 who runs GISAC. “We desperately needed
                                                                                                                                                                                                  sneezing or coughing can prevent spread                                                            sages to partnering
infected person presents a more troubling                other types of flu, in that 100 percent of                                                                                                                                                 a system to cure this interoperability prob-
                                                                                                                                                                                                  of respiratory viruses, and frequent hand-                                                         organizations.                                     control mechanism to help manage the
and challenging picture. It could initially              the population is potentially at risk,” says                                                                                                                                               lem and harness the power of several law
                                                                                                                                                                                                  washing by everyone will reduce infec-                                                                   “E-Team is a really unique system            multi-agency operation in real time,”
present as an outbreak similar to 2003’s                 Dr. Lance. “We don’t know how many                                                                                                                                                         enforcement agencies working together.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  tions. Getting a yearly flu vaccine will                                                           because law enforcement agencies do not            Robertson continues. “This program
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome                        people could get sick.”                                                                                                                                                                    Instead of reinventing the wheel, we decid-
                                                                                                                                                                                                  reduce the risk of influenza during our tra-                                                       have to be in an operations center to know         would literally keep everyone on the same
(SARS), with the virus being introduced                       Lance says a full-scale pandemic could                                                                                                                                                ed to go with E-Team, because it provides
                                                                                                                                                                                                  ditional flu season.                                                                               what is happening during an incident,”             page during an operation.”
into the U.S. by travelers. If such an inci-             overwhelm hospitals, emergency medical                                                                                                                                                     an incredible degree of real-time
                                                                                                                                                                                                        To ensure the U.S. is prepared for this                                                      says Don Robertson, program manager of                  All information that is logged into
dent occurred, DHR’s Division of Public                  services and other health care providers.                                                                                                                                                  situational awareness.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                  threat, comprehensive summits on bird flu                                                          GTIP. “Because the software is Web-based,          E-Team is intelligently linked and can be
Health would be the lead agency.                         She says an estimated 40 percent of the                                                                                                                                                          Through the Georgia Terrorism
                                                                                                                                                                                                  are planned in each state. Georgia’s                                                               agencies can log on anywhere to get and            sorted, prioritized, and even viewed in text
      “The flu virus is highly transmissible,            work force would stay home, dealing a                                                                                                                                                      Intelligence Program (GTIP), the City of
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pandemic Influenza Summit, “Georgia                                                                share information. For example, if GISAC           or map format. The program gives the
with a short incubation period,” says Dr.                brutal blow to the economy. Maintaining                                                                                                                                                    Atlanta Police Department, Cobb County
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Prepares,” was held January 13, 2006, in                                                           receives a bomb threat targeting Atlanta’s         agencies a variety of ways to analyze the
Lance. “A person can be infectious before                societal infrastructure could be very diffi-                                                                                                                                               Police Department, Clayton County Police
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Atlanta, under the leadership of Health                                                            City Hall, they can post that information          information. To make communication
any symptoms appear.”                                    cult in this circumstance.                                                                                                                                                                 Department, DeKalb County Police
                                                                                                                                                                                                  and Human Services Secretary Mike                                                                  to E-Team, and the City of Atlanta Police          safe, E-Team operates on a secure
      She says criteria are in place for hospi-               Her advice to local first responders                                                                                                                                                  Department, Fulton County Police
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Leavitt and Governor Sonny Perdue. More                                                            Department can immediately get the                 platform.
tals and doctors to observe patients with                and health care organizations is to work                                                                                                                                                   Department and Gwinnett County Police
                                                                                                                                                                                                  than 350 people attended. Health officials                                                         details of that phone call, and then post               “E-Team functions as a true one-stop
flu-like symptoms to determine if the                    closely with public health officials and use                                                                                                                                               Department are able to use E-Team to
                                                                                                                                                                                                  say the summit raised awareness, strength-                                                         the details of their response to the threat.       shop for information,” says Hardin. “This
patient has had contact with poultry, and                standard protective precautions for respira-                                                                                                                                               share leads, tips and pertinent intelligence
                                                                                                                                                                                                  ened cooperation and increased local                                                                     “When necessary or advantageous, the         is not another intelligence database pro-
to learn details of their recent travel                  tory viruses. The public will be informed                                                                                                                                                  information.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  preparedness efforts between the public                                                            GTIP agencies can work together and sup-           gram. It is a situational awareness tool that
history.                                                 of methods to protect themselves and their                                                                                                                                                       “This program is wonderful because
                                                                                                                                                                                                  and private sectors, volunteer organiza-                                                           port each other in an operational theater,         is built on timely information and infor-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mation sharing.” I
      Unlike other types of flu, which pose              families, and planning for in-home health                                                                                                                                                  we can now pool our resources and infor-
                                                                                                                                                                                                  tions, educators and the faith-based
                                                                                                                                                                                                  community. I
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    mation to detect and deter any terrorist         and can use E-Team as a command and
a higher risk to certain groups, such as the             care options is under way.

13                                                                                                                                                                                                  Winter 2006 EMERGENCY MANAGER                   EMERGENCY MANAGER Winter 2006                                                                                                                14
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Photo courtesy of Pete Nelms, Fayette County EMA
                                                                                                                                                            Photo courtesy of Pete Nelms, Fayette County EMA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Severe Weather
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Awareness Week
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Opportunity to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Prepare for Disaster
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Governor Sonny Perdue has
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 proclaimed the week of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 February 19-25, 2006, as Severe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Weather Awareness Week in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Severe Weather Awareness
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Week is designed to educate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               There is no such thing as a tornado season in Georgia. They can occur anywhere and at any time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Georgians about safety, pre-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 paredness, and response proce-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 dures for a variety of severe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 weather events, such as floods,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 hurricanes, lightning, thunder-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 THE STORM

                                                              The new year was marked by severe weather. On January 3, 2006, an F2 tornado tore                                                                  storms, tornadoes and winter
                                                              through Tyrone, Georgia, in Fayette County, severely damaging several million-dollar homes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Take this quiz and see if you’re ready for the next tornado outbreak.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Everyone is encouraged to

2005 Ranks Second in Tornadoes for Decade                                                                                                                                                                        review their family safety plans
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 during this time, make sure they
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1) The average forward speed of a tornado is ...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     a) 10 mph
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 have a disaster supply kit on                       b) 20 mph
                                                By Ken Davis, Public Affairs Officer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 hand, and make sure they have a                     c) 30 mph
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     d) 50 mph
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 National Oceanic and
                                                     In just nine hours on August                    Particularly hard hit was the poultry

    n terms of weather, there is no doubt                                                                                                                                                                        Atmospheric (NOAA) Weather
                                                29, 2005, a year’s worth of tornadoes                industry, especially in west Georgia, where                                                                                                                  2) The first documented tornado forecast was issued by
    that 2005 will be recorded as a one of
                                                escorted the remnants of Hurricane                   more than 375,000 chickens died when                                                                        Radio.                                              military forecasters at ...
    the most severe in recent history. In
Georgia, 43 tornadoes killed at least five      Katrina into Georgia with a vengeance. A             about 30 chicken houses were destroyed in                                                                       In addition to publicizing                      a) Tinker Air Force Base
                                                total of 20 tornadoes slammed into the               Heard and Carroll counties.                                                                                 weather safety measures and                         b) Keesler Air Force Base
people, injured approximately three dozen
                                                state that day. The first hit Heard County,                That was the day with the most, and,                                                                  severe weather events through                       c) Edwards Air Force Base
others, and caused close to $100 million
                                                located in western Georgia on the                    perhaps the worst, tornado activity.                                                                                                                            d) Warner Robins Air Force Base
in property damage. This places 2005 sec-                                                                                                                                                                        the news media, a statewide
ond only to 2004 in the total number of         Alabama border, in the late afternoon, and           However, the year began on a tragic note
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 severe weather drill was con-                    3) The largest number of tornadoes for any month since 1950 occurred in ...
storms, and also second to 2003 in the          the last one touched down in White                   less than two weeks after New Year cele-
                                                County, in the town of Helen, located in             brations ended. On January 13, 2005, a                                                                      ducted by the National Weather                      a) May 2003
number of deaths. Georgia recorded six
tornado deaths in 2003 and 46 tornado           the northeast Georgia mountains, around              tornado destroyed three homes south of                                                                      Service on Wednesday,                               b) June 1998
                                                midnight. Sixteen confirmed tornadoes                Arlington in Early County. A retired cou-                                                                   February 22, 2006. Schools,                         c) June 1993
occurrences in 2004.
                                                touched down in north and central                    ple died when their mobile home was                                                                         churches, businesses and local                      d) June 1999
     Indeed, the weather legacy left by
2005 has already flooded the annals of          Georgia alone. All together, there were              destroyed. Three others in the home were                                                                    governments were encouraged
                                                three F2s, three F1s and 10 F0s reported             injured.                                                                                                                                                     4) The largest tornado on record – 2.5 miles wide –
meteorology and hydrology, and is spilling                                                                                                                                                                       to participate in this annual                       occurred near ...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 event. I
over into its own chapter of American his-      in north and central Georgia.                              Two months later, just after midnight
                                                     Two people were killed in Carroll               on March 22, 2005, an F3 tornado dam-                                                                                                                           a) Rolla, Missouri
tory called “Katrina.”
                                                County when an F2 tornado passed two                 aged or destroyed 24 buildings in and                                                                                                                           b) Troy, Alabama
     This new chapter in our nation’s his-
                                                miles east of Roopville. One man was                 around the southwest Georgia town of                                                                           This spread of tornadic events                   c) Norman, Oklahoma
tory, however, largely focuses on the suffer-
                                                killed and a large chicken house destroyed           Donalsonville in Seminole County. One                                                                     throughout the year in Georgia actually               d) Hallam, Nebraska
ing, death, destruction and evacuation
after Katrina, a powerful, late-summer          when he went to check on the birds dur-              person died in a mobile home.                                                                             does little to dispel the notion of a “torna-
hurricane that decimated the Gulf Coast         ing the storm. Another person died nearby                  These deadly tornadoes in 2005                                                                      do season” for our state.
from Texas to Alabama, and especially           in a traffic accident. At least nine others          occurred in seven out the 12 calendar                                                                          Quite to the contrary.
New Orleans. But many states located            were injured, and dozens of homes and                months. Tornadoes began and ended the                                                                          The year 2005 clearly illustrated, once
hundreds of miles from the Gulf also bore       businesses were heavily damaged or                   year 2005. They touched down in January,                                                                  again, that tornado season in Georgia
                                                destroyed. Officials estimated property              March, May, July, August, October and                                                                     does, in fact, last from January through                Answers 1) c; 2) a; 3) a; 4) d
                                                                                                                                                                                                               December. I
the brunt of Hurricane Katrina’s post-
landfall exploits, particularly Georgia.        damages at nearly $14 million statewide.             December.

15                                                                                                      Winter 2006 EMERGENCY MANAGER                                                                          EMERGENCY MANAGER Winter 2006                                                                                                                      16
                                                                                                                                           director, convened an emergency meeting        accompanies an ambulance to medical            December 31, 2005. As of the end of
                                                                                                                                           to inventory fuel supplies and plan a strat-   calls. But Parker is quick to point out that   October 2005, fuel costs for police cars
                                                                                                                                           egy. Fortunately, the County Board of          his units will respond if dispatchers deter-   were approximately $50,000 higher than

Fuel CRUNCH                                                                                                                                Education had recently acquired a sizable
                                                                                                                                           fuel supply, some of which was loaned to
                                                                                                                                           public safety agencies.
                                                                                                                                                                                          mine that the call involves a life-
                                                                                                                                                                                          threatening situation.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         the entire previous year.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Research and budget manager Wanda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Williams says a healthy economy is help-

Puts Emergency Responders to the Test                                                                                                            Nelms says good planning and sound
                                                                                                                                           budgeting and fiscal policies by county
                                                                                                                                           leaders lessened the impact of the crisis.
                                                                                                                                                                                          operates one of the largest, and the only
                                                                                                                                                                                          hospital-based, ambulance fleet in the
                                                                                                                                                                                          South, with 35 trucks plying the city’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ing the city get over the hump, observing,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         “Revenues are performing every week,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         some expenditures are down, and this will
By Buzz Weiss, Public Affairs Coordinator                                                                                                        The fuel crunch “hit us dramatically”    streets 24/7, responding to an average of      balance itself out.”
                                                                                                                                           says Georgia Public Safety Commissioner        225 calls a day.                                    Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan
                                                                                                                                           Colonel Bill Hitchens, who implemented               EMS logistics supervisor Gene            Police Sergeant Mike Wilson maintains,
                                                                                          home. That order remained in force until         a strict mileage reduction plan when gas       Davenport says following Katrina, the cost     “It hasn’t impacted the way we do business

                                               piraling fuel prices over the past year
                                               have not only bedeviled motorists,         late October. Deckmar says the fuel crisis       prices began to surge.                         of diesel fuel for his fleet doubled to more   here.”
                                               but also put state and local public        has had no impact on his department’s                  Hitchens says the plan allowed troop-    than $12,000 a week. Like other agencies,           Most agencies contacted cited
                                        safety agencies to the test, forcing them to      budget, however, and he has not been             ers to travel directly from home
                                        find ways to maintain their levels of pro-        directed to reduce any future costs.             to their patrol areas, rather than
                                        tection without busting their budgets or                Contracts with fuel vendors helped         having to sign in at their posts.
                                        slashing vital services.                          modulate price jumps in DeKalb County            It also gave commanders the
                                              In the wake of Hurricane Katrina,           where Fire Chief David Foster declares his       green light to assign troopers to
                                        fuel prices that had already been on the          “biggest fear is a lack of fuel.”                beats near their homes.

                                        rise skyrocketed beyond the $3.00 mark.                 Foster says the fuel crisis forced his     Hitchens says troopers driving
                                        Plus, the availability of fuel was often          department to cut back on unnecessary            to and from training and other
                                        spotty.                                           travel, including routine hydrant checks.        assignments were required to
                                                                                          By early November, though, the depart-           carpool. Another cost-saving
My biggest                                    As summer turned to fall, private citi-
                                        zens either grudgingly paid the piper or
                                        found ways to ease the pain at the pump –
                                                                                          ment was returning to business as usual.
                                                                                                The chief notes that comprehensive
                                                                                                                                           move was put in place two years
                                                                                                                                           ago, when the Crown Vic fleet
                                        which often meant scaling back their driv-        planning for terrorism helped the depart-        switched from premium to regu-
fear is                                 ing, combining Saturday errands, putting
                                        Junior on the school bus instead of driving
                                                                                          ment to be better prepared to cope with
                                                                                          the specter of fuel shortages.
                                                                                                                                           lar fuel.
                                                                                                                                                 Mileage was reduced by 10
                                        him to class, donning a bathrobe and                    While local governments across the         percent on the heels of Katrina,

a lack                                  working from home, and even trading the
                                        Expedition for an Escort.
                                                                                          state implemented a laundry list of conser-
                                                                                          vation measures, most targeted non-
                                                                                          emergency personnel and vehicles not used
                                                                                                                                           but Hitchens says costs still rose.
                                                                                                                                           From July to September, the
                                                                                                                                           monthly fuel bill jumped from
                                              But the challenge was considerably

of fuel.                                greater and more critical for police, sheriff
                                        and fire departments and emergency med-
                                        ical services, which didn’t have the option
                                                                                          for public safety duties and encouraged
                                                                                          emergency officials to join conservation
                                                                                                                                           $216,000 to $386,000.
                                                                                                                                                 Nevertheless, Hitchens says
                                                                                                                                           the mileage reduction had no

                                        of parking their cars and trucks. Public                Marietta Fire Chief Jackie Gibbs says      negative effect on law enforce-
                                        safety agencies were significantly impacted       fire departments “don’t have a lot of fat to     ment services, noting, “We do
                                        and forced to look for creative ways to           cut. We still have to respond to emergency       what we have to do.”
                                        continue to serve their citizens.                 calls and do hydrant checks and in-service             The fuel dilemma, however,
                                              “For us, it was not so much a cost          inspections.”                                    forced the Forsyth Fire
                                        issue as an allocation issue,” says LaGrange            He adds that saving fuel is particularly   Department to make some significant            Grady officials worried not only about         Although fuel prices have dropped since their
                                                                                          difficult for fire departments because they      changes in the way they operate.               price, but also about availability. Grady’s    dramatic rise in the immediate aftermath of
                                        Police Chief Louis Deckmar, whose
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Hurricane Katrina, some first response agencies
                                        department had already begun to econo-            have to leave the trucks’ motors running               Chief Walter Parker says the depart-     fuel contract provided some breathing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         have taken steps to conserve fuel and reduce costs.
                                        mize earlier in the year. A fleet of venera-      while on a scene, not only to work fires,        ment’s trucks are now kept fully fueled at     room, but crews were often forced to trav-     Initially, the DeKalb County Fire Department cut back
                                        ble Crown Vics was replaced with less             but to power the emergency lights for            all times, spurred by concerns earlier this    el to the fringes of metro Atlanta to find     on routine hydrant checks, but by November
                                                                                          safety reasons on other calls.                   year that fuel supplies could be interrupt-    contract stations that hadn’t run dry.         operations had returned to normal.
                                        thirsty Dodge Intrepids and Chevy
                                        Impalas.                                                Gibbs says city fleet managers are         ed. Katrina also forced Parker to scuttle            Davenport says new policies require
                                              Deckmar says the change in his              making sure that fuel tanks are topped off       the twice-daily comprehensive checks of        that ambulance tanks be topped off when        ongoing, comprehensive planning and
                                        50-vehicle fleet was based on performance         while they grapple with a 32 percent hike        the department’s apparatus, which includ-      the fuel gauge reaches the three-fourths       judicious budget policies in helping them
                                        and needs. When supplies plummeted                in the budget for vehicle operations.            ed everything from pumps to pressure           mark, and drivers not let their engines        weather the storm.
                                        and prices soared, he says the vehicle                  Captain Pete Nelms, emergency              valves.                                        idle. He adds that a “posting plan” already         According to AAA Auto Club South
                                        changeover “mitigated some of the costs.”         management coordinator for the Fayette                 “Other than answering calls, for the     in place helped to deploy ambulances effi-     spokesman Randy Bly, diesel fuel spiked at
                                              Nevertheless, that alone didn’t solve       County Department of Fire and                    three weeks following Katrina we only          ciently.                                       $3.348 per gallon, and regular fuel
                                        the problem. So, city officials suspended         Emergency Services, says a red flag was          cranked the trucks once a day to make                Budget officials in Savannah say over-   plateaued at $3.107 in early September.
                                        the department’s “take home” policy,              raised when the Peachtree City Police            sure they were ready to roll,” says Carter,    all fuel costs were running 13.5 percent       By early November, regular prices had fall-
                                        allowing only K-9 officers, on-call detec-        Department called to say they were down          who has since reinstated once-a-day com-       higher than the previous year and were         en to $2.324 and diesel had dropped to
                                        tives, traffic investigators, and officers with   to their last 200 gallons of fuel. Chief         prehensive checks.                             projected to be just over 36 percent higher    $2.801, down notably from the days fol-
                                        special assignments to take their vehicles        Jack Krakeel, who also serves as EMA                   A Forsyth engine no longer routinely     when the fiscal year ended on                  lowing Katrina, but still well above prices

17                                                                                          Winter 2006 EMERGENCY MANAGER                  EMERGENCY MANAGER Winter 2006                                                                                                                 18
                                                                                                                                                       director, sergeants, detectives, and K-9,      the National Office of Victim Assistance’s           initiatives to prepare for man-made and
      How DeKalb County Strives to Keep Kids                                                                                                           gang intelligence and investigations units.
                                                                                                                                                       In addition, a school resource officer is
                                                                                                                                                                                                      (NOVA) crisis intervention and group
                                                                                                                                                                                                      debriefing model to help victims of a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           natural disasters. As a result, the DeKalb
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           School System can access a tremendous
                                                                                                                                                       assigned to every middle and high school.      crime or trauma. Refresher courses are               amount of information, resources and

                            Safe at School                                                                                                             These experienced officers are POST-
                                                                                                                                                       certified, academy-trained and qualified
                                                                                                                                                       to work specifically with schools.
                                                                                                                                                            To deter violence, theft and vandal-
                                                                                                                                                                                                      offered every year.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Personnel also receive training by
                                                                                                                                                                                                      specialists from DeKalb’s Prevention and
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Intervention program. The goal of this
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           expertise at a moment’s notice.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 School superintendent Dr. Crawford
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Lewis is a sworn member of the DeKalb
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Board of Health (DBOH), which enables
                                    By Keith Sumas, Area School Safety Coordinator                                                                     ism, cameras and security systems have         program is to reduce substance abuse, vio-           the school system to receive health-related
                                                                                                                                                       been installed in all facilities. School       lence and teen pregnancy. Toward that                information that may impact schools. In
                                                                                                                                                       police and certain school officials have       end, Prevention and Intervention special-            turn, Dr. Lewis provides the DBOH with
                                                                                                           where students can anonymously pass

       afety is a critical concern for                                                                                                                 remote access to this system so they can       ists provide training classes that cover top-        insight into school health issues.
       parents, students, and school                                                                       on information about weapons, drugs,        assess a potential situation before security   ics such as bullying, media violence, con-                 DeKalb’s Student Relations team
       and government officials in                                                                         bullying and other safety concerns.         personnel enter the building.                                                                       plays a role in the DBOH’s internal emer-
Georgia. Although lawmakers estab-                                                                         Student Relations staff notify the                                                                                                              gency preparedness planning and are
lished stringent safety standards for                                                                      school and help with the subsequent
                                                                                                                                                       Using technology for                                                                                members of the DBOH’s Medical Reserve
schools, it is up to individual school                                                                     response.                                                                                                                                       Corps (MRC) Steering Committee. MRC
                                                                                                                 Information about discipline,
                                                                                                                                                       better communication
districts to incorporate these regula-                                                                                                                                                                                                                     trains volunteers to assist their neighbors
                                                                                                           attendance records and safety materi-             Good communication is essential to
tions into accepted practice.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              in the event of a bio-terrorism or other
                                                                                                           als can be accessed quickly through         ensure a coordinated response to any
      The DeKalb County School                                                                                                                                                                                                                             major event. DeKalb School System
                                                                                                           FirstClass, a Web-based messaging           emergency. The DeKalb County School
System in metro Atlanta is one dis-                                                                                                                                                                                                                        employees often volunteer their time with
                                                                                                           and communications system. In addi-         System is embracing technology to
trict that has created a successful safe-                                                                                                                                                                                                                  this program. In fact, a staff member
                                                                                                           tion, all school forms and letters are      improve communication.
ty program that combines prepared-                                                                                                                                                                                                                         received the 2003 DBOH Volunteer of
                                                                                                           posted here.                                      Principals, school police and appro-
ness, discipline, security initiatives,         Deputy Director Jim Hanson monitors activity at the                                                                                                                                                        the Year award.
                                                                                                            When a student is accused of a seri-       priate personnel have Nextel cell phones
technology, training and partnerships on a      DeKalb County Schools Department of Public Safety                                                                                                                                                                Student Relations personnel maintain
                                                                                                      ous violation of school rules and state law,     with regular cell, direct-connect and text
day-to-day basis. Officials work together       emergency operations center.
                                                                                                                                                       message capabilities. As a result, emer-                                                            a good working relationship with other
to implement a variety of methods to                                                                  including weapons, violence and drugs, a                                                                                                             local, state and federal agencies. For
                                                                                                      panel of administrators, school psycholo-        gency text messages can be delivered           Officer Malone and his K-9 partner, Bodi, randomly
ensure student safety.                               Finally, all teachers receive Emergency                                                                                                                                                               instance, the district’s Attendance
                                                                                                      gists and social workers hear evidence by        within minutes. Phone trees also have          search lockers at a middle school.
                                                Response Procedures and Protocols. This                                                                                                                                                                    Protocol Committee, which develops
                                                                                                      the school system, the student and parents       been organized to spread brief messages
Preparedness publications                       bright neon yellow handbook serves the                                                                                                                                                                     attendance policy, is chaired by the
                                                                                                      as part of the Student Evidentiary Hearing       quickly and effectively to a group of
      Per state law, every school is required   dual purpose of providing standard emer-                                                                                                              flict resolution and respecting others. In           DeKalb Solicitor-General and includes
                                                                                                      Committee. This is a good way for admin-         people.
to develop a school safety plan. According      gency response information and becoming                                                                                                               addition, targeted training is available to          representatives from DeKalb’s Superior
                                                                                                      istrators to receive practical training on             School police and staff from the dis-
to the National School Safety Center,           a beacon for first responders. If a teacher                                                                                                           schools with specific safety and discipline          and Juvenile Courts, the District
                                                                                                      discipline and safety scenarios as they ana-     trict’s Student Relations department have
however, DeKalb’s school safety plan tem-       needs assistance in the classroom during                                                                                                              concerns.                                            Attorney’s Office, police department,
                                                                                                      lyze the way fellow administrators apply         police, fire and EMS radios to monitor
plate is the one of the most comprehensive      an emergency, this handbook can be slid                                                                                                                     Another component of the                       Decatur City Schools, and civic and
                                                                                                      (or misapply) procedures.                        incidents in the community that may
in the nation.                                  under the door to signal public safety                                                                                                                Prevention and Intervention program is               teacher organizations.
                                                                                                            Students have a role in ensuring their     affect the safety of schools.
      DeKalb school officials developed         personnel.                                                                                                                                            the Safe School Initiative, which helps                    DeKalb school officials also regularly
                                                                                                      safety as well. Everyone receives a copy of            Provisions also have been made to
clear, succinct emergency preparedness and           All of these publications are updated                                                                                                            administrators with discipline and safety            communicate with the DeKalb
                                                                                                      DeKalb’s Code of Student Conduct, which          communicate during a natural disaster as
response protocols to guide all levels of       regularly.                                                                                                                                            planning by using data to develop preven-            Emergency Management Agency, OHS-
                                                                                                      informs students and parents of behavioral       well as a man-made one. When severe
staff through several possible crisis scenar-                                                                                                          weather threatens, conditions are moni-        tion strategies.                                     GEMA, the Federal Emergency
ios, including severe weather, fire or haz-     Discipline                                            expectations, penalties, prevention meas-                                                             Prevention and Intervention special-           Management Agency and the U.S.
                                                                                                      ures, and other safety-related information.      tored over the Internet and regular discus-
ardous material events, and emergency                 Discipline is an important part of                                                                                                              ists also collaborate with parents and civic         Department of Homeland Security. In
                                                                                                      Students and their parents must sign this        sions are held with the National Weather
lockdown. The template also contains doc-       DeKalb’s school safety methodology, and                                                                                                               organizations to provide a variety of sup-           fact, DeKalb school officials collaborate
                                                                                                      document.                                        Service. In addition, every DeKalb
umentation to record emergency drills, a        numerous publications are available to per-                                                                                                           port groups and after-school programs.               with OHS-GEMA’s School Safety Unit to
                                                                                                                                                       County facility has a National Oceanic
list of emergency evacuation routes and         sonnel. All administrative staff receive an                                                                                                           For example, they have teamed up with                conduct safety assessments of schools each
                                                                                                                                                       and Atmospheric (NOAA) weather radio
reunification sites, safety audit checklists,   electronic copy of Administrative                     Crime prevention                                                                                police officers to conduct Gaining Results           year. An OHS-GEMA school safety
                                                                                                                                                       to alert them to the threat of severe
and prevention initiatives.                     Procedures for Student Discipline, which                    DeKalb County has continued to stay                                                       with Intervention and Prevention (GRIP),             coordinator provides feedback and helps
      Trained staff review these plans, then    provides detailed information about disci-            ahead of the curve in the area of school                                                        a substance abuse education program for              correct areas of concern.
they are submitted to the Office of             pline, safety procedures, and state and fed-          safety by incorporating innovative crime-                                                       middle and high school students, the                       These are just a few of the programs
                                                                                                      fighting initiatives into overall strategy.
                                                                                                                                                       A training leader
Homeland Security-Georgia Emergency             eral laws. Research on Student Relations                                                                                                              POINTS/POINTS II violence interven-                  and strategies DeKalb County school offi-
                                                                                                            DeKalb was the first school system in           To keep up with the latest trends and
Management Agency (OHS-GEMA) for                and Discipline also is available to adminis-                                                                                                          tion programs, and CRTP, which handles               cials developed to keep students and staff
                                                                                                      Georgia to send the GBI Sex Offender             stay ahead of the curve, DeKalb County
approval. Once the plan is approved, each       trators. This collection contains discipline                                                                                                          driving violations and other referrals from          safe. By taking a collaborative approach,
                                                                                                      Registry, which identifies sex offenders         school officials provide a variety of train-
employee receives a copy.                       research and strategies, program models,                                                                                                              court.                                               officials will continue to be a proactive
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           leader in school safety. I
                                                                                                      who live within 1,000 feet of school prop-       ing to personnel, including new adminis-
      In addition, spiral-bound flipcharts      youth violence prevention programs, and
                                                                                                      erty, to all principals regularly. This infor-   trators. Training classes are scheduled
listing emergency response procedures and       other safety information.                                                                                                                             Partnering for success                                     Special thanks to DeKalb County
                                                                                                      mation is then sent to the DeKalb County         throughout the school year and cover top-
contact information for several crises are            Interpreting school rules and adminis-                                                                                                               DeKalb County school officials rec-             School System public safety director Jeanne
                                                                                                      District Attorney’s Office for investigation.    ics such as safe school planning and emer-
distributed to each facility. Information is    tering discipline is the responsibility of the                                                                                                        ognize the importance of cultivating                 Wood-Shuffett and deputy director Jim
                                                                                                            Officials also created a school police     gency preparedness. Individual training is
color coded for easy access. These charts       Student Relations department. It also                                                                                                                 mutually beneficial partnerships with                Hanson, along with Student Relations
                                                                                                      department that is structured the same           provided upon request.
are hung on a wall in every room in the         receives reports from the Safe and Drug                                                                                                               local, state and federal agencies. They fre-         administrator Quentin Fretwell and deputy
                                                                                                      way as a city’s, with a director, deputy              Moreover, each school psychologist,
building.                                       Free Schools’ 1-800-SAY-STOP hotline,                                                                                                                 quently collaborate with them on new                 superintendent Garry McGiboney.
                                                                                                                                                       counselor and social worker is trained on
19                                                                                                      Winter 2006 EMERGENCY MANAGER                  EMERGENCY MANAGER Winter 2006                                                                                                                 20
                                                                                                              address management and logistics issues.
                                                                                                              He also emphasizes the need for training           Please join us for the
                                                                                                              “For the most part, I think we’re well pre-
                                                                                                              pared here in Georgia,” says Hamrick.
                                                                                                                                                                 2006 Governor’s Emergency Management Conference ....
                                                                                                              “But our mindset needs to change on what
                                                                                                              we’ve been prepared for when we look at
                                                                                                              the magnitude of Katrina.”
                                                                                                                                                                  Partners                                                                           Register now for OHS-GEMA’s Governor’s Emergency Management Conference, “Partners in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Emergency Management.” You are encouraged to register online at www.gema.state.ga.us.
                                                                                                                    School Safety Coordinator John                                                                                                   After you hit the “submit” button, print out your registration form and mail your payment to the
                                                                                                              Cleveland was part of a four-person OHS-
                                                                                                              GEMA team dispatched to Mississippi to
                                                                                                                                                                  in Emergency                                                                       address below.
                                                                                                              help with damage assessment and other                                                                                                  Agency/Organization:
                                                                                                              assignments. He says overwhelmed emer-
                                                                                                              gency workers there asked OHS-GEMA to
                                                                                                                                                                  Management                                                                         Address:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Address 2:
                                                                                                              help establish and manage disaster recov-                                                                                              City:                                                  State:               Zip:
                                                                                                              ery centers.                                       May 3 - 5, 2006 •                                                                   Telephone:                                             Fax:
                                                                                                                    Cleveland says Mississippi officials
                                                                                                                                                                 Savannah, Georgia                                                                   E-mail:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      please cut along dotted line
                                                                                                              had difficulty getting the state and local
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     T-shirt size (circle one):          M            L              XL       XXL         XXXL
                                                                                                              personnel needed to handle the myriad
                                                                                                              tasks required in the wake of Katrina. He                                                                                              PLEASE FILL OUT ONLY IF YOU ARE BRINGING A GUEST
                                                                                                              says a critical lesson learned — or                                                                                                    Guests will be admitted to the Wednesday reception and Wednesday and Thursday luncheons for
OHS-GEMA staffers who went to the Gulf Coast to assist in recovery efforts were shocked by the scope of the                                                                                                                                          an additional $15 per event. Please provide the following information and enclose payment with
                                                                                                              reiterated — was the importance of know-                                                                                               registration:
devastation. Entire zip codes had been wiped out by Katrina.
                                                                                                              ing how to establish multiple DRCs.                                                                                                    Guest name: ______________________________________________
                                                                                                                    “I believe Georgia is in good shape in                                                                                           will be attending

     HURRICANE KATRINA:                                                                                       terms of opening and running DRCs,”
                                                                                                              says Cleveland. “But it’s easier said than
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Wednesday luncheon ($15 per guest)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Wednesday reception ($15 per guest)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Thursday luncheon ($15 per guest)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Number of guests:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Number of guests:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Number of guests:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Total $
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Total $
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     NOTE: Thursday night social has been cancelled by the Savannah River Boat Company.

      Lessons Learned from                                                                                          Field Coordinator Dan Yeargin led
                                                                                                              the OHS-GEMA team. He says the “pit-
                                                                                                              falls in preparedness” in Mississippi are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     PAYMENT INFORMATION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Enclosed is my payment of $________ for ______ (number of registrants),
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     at a fee of $125/person, plus $ ________ for guest fees

          a Catastrophe                                                                                       instructive in that they show no state can
                                                                                                              be completely prepared for a storm like
                                                                                                              Katrina. But he also says what he saw
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Total amount is $___________

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Make checks payable to OHS-GEMA. Please mail payment along with this form to:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  OHS-GEMA’s Governor’s Emergency Management Conference Coordinator
                        By Buzz Weiss, Public Affairs Coordinator                                             underscores the importance of the rela-                                                                                                                      Post Office Box 18055 • Atlanta, Georgia 30316-0055
                                                                                                              tionship that Georgia disaster officials have                                                                                                                             DEADLINE IS APRIL 1, 2006
                                                        GEMA) Terrorism Emergency Response

        xperts at the National Hurricane                                                                      with their local counterparts.                    Visit www.gema.state.ga.us
        Center say Hurricane Katrina “will              and Preparedness Division, arrived in                       “I think one of our greatest strengths      for more information.
        likely be recorded as the worst natu-           Baton Rouge shortly after Katrina’s landfall          is our partnership with local EMAs, public
ral disaster in the history of the United               to lead a Georgia-based advance team                  safety agencies, and city and county offi-
States.” It will undoubtedly be the event               deployed through the 49-state Emergency               cials, which would enable us to respond
by which all other disasters will be judged             Management Assistance Compact                         effectively,” says Yeargin.
for years to come.                                      (EMAC).                                                     With more than 1,000 deaths along
      A storm of this magnitude not only                      Hamrick found a community in                    the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts, body            Sperry believes Georgia, with its train-
burns its imprint on the minds of the                   chaos. He says he encountered inadequate              recovery was a vital task. The Georgia          ing, experience and equipment, is well pre-
emergency responders from around the                    communications, a lack of direction and               Bureau of Investigation (GBI) sent experi-      pared to tackle a mass casualty incident.
nation who traveled to the battered Gulf                leadership, and an absence of clear proce-            enced body recovery teams to assist                   Floyd County Emergency
Coast to help devastated communities, but               dures and protocols under which to                    Mississippi authorities.                        Management Agency (EMA) Director
also serves as a teacher that will convey               operate.                                                    Dr. Kris Sperry, Georgia’s chief med-     Scotty Hancock arrived in Mississippi’s
valuable lessons for the future.                              “But until any of us have been                  ical examiner, says local coroners were “in     EOC on Katrina’s heels to find it under-
      Approximately 3,000 Georgia respon-               through something like this, no one can               over their heads.” He says Georgia teams,       equipped and under-staffed. Like
ders, including National Guard personnel,               say we could have done better,” Hamrick               along with Urban Search and Rescue              Cleveland, he found local emergency offi-
law enforcement officers, firefighters, and             is quick to point out.                                (USAR) teams from around the country,           cials to be overwhelmed.
civilians, were deployed to parts of                          Hamrick says what is important is               were ready to help, but encountered a situ-           In addition to equipment and staffing
Louisiana and Mississippi in the days and               that his experiences in Louisiana will help           ation that was often “disjointed and frag-                                                       pull our resources together,” says Hancock.                                        Victims waited in long lines for assistance at the
                                                                                                                                                              issues, Hancock also says EMAC needs to                                                                                             disaster recovery center in Ocean Springs,
weeks following Katrina’s August 29,                    to more clearly define what Georgia offi-             mented.” The lesson to be learned, says                                                          “But I don’t think that you can fully pre-
                                                                                                                                                              do a better job of making it possible for                                                                                           Mississippi. Some people became frustrated, but
2005, landfall. They tell of the lessons they           cials need to keep in mind as they contin-            Sperry, is that there has to be a plan in                                                        pare for something like this.”
                                                                                                                                                              responders from member states to                                                                                                    one woman saw it as an opportunity to help. She
learned in a stricken region struggling to              ue to perfect the state’s preparedness                place, with the requisite training and                                                                In the wake of a disaster, stinging crit-                                     returned the next day to volunteer.
respond.                                                efforts.                                              exercising.                                                                                      icisms must be issued and accepted. Hard-
                                                                                                                                                                    His lesson learned?
      Micah Hamrick, assistant director of                    He says one of the key lessons learned                “Know what to ask for when asking                                                          hitting questions must be asked and                                                plans must be examined and re-evaluated.
                                                                                                                                                                    “We need to be thinking about com-
the Office of Homeland Security-Georgia                 is the importance of having clear standard            for help and define the parameters of what                                                       answered. Valid assumptions must be                                                Katrina’s lessons will, no doubt, set the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  process in motion. I
                                                                                                                                                              munications, leadership, and being able to
Emergency Management Agency’s (OHS-                     operating procedures (SOPs) in place to               you need,” he says.                                                                              challenged and reconsidered. And existing

21                                                                                                              Winter 2006 EMERGENCY MANAGER                 EMERGENCY MANAGER Winter 2006                                                                                                                                                             22
Post Office Box 18055             STANDARD
Atlanta, Georgia 30316-0055     POSTAGE PAID
                                 ATLANTA, GA
                               PERMIT NO. 8116

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