Deal: Report will play a key role in future winter storm response

PRESS RELEASE

Gov.
Nathan Deal today received the internal review and action plan he ordered from
state agency heads involved in emergency response during the winter storm of
Jan. 26-30.

 

“Our state
experienced two severe winter storms in two weeks, events that tested the
resilience and preparedness of all Georgians,” Deal said. “Following the first
storm, I implemented immediate action items as well as initiated an internal
review by state agency heads. The action items paid off. Our state for the
second storm was more informed and prepared through the cellphones alerts,
emails to school superintendents and consultations with local meteorologists.
The safety of our citizens is of the utmost importance, and this report will
play a key role in shaping the way our state government agencies prepare for and
prevent dangerous winter weather situations.”

 

State
agency heads from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the Department of
Public Safety, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Defense
and the Department of Transportation met to examine the events of the winter
storm, which was found to be an extremely unusual circumstance based on data
from the National Weather Service.

 

The report
includes short- and long-term solutions, some of which have already been
successfully implemented. These solutions include:

 

  • Implement an immediate action plan, which would overhaul
    the “Ready Georgia” mobile application, trigger cellphone alerts in times of
    weather-related emergencies, establish a communications plan with school
    superintendents and create a weather advisory group with local
    meteorologists
  • Change laws regarding commercial vehicles, establishing
    stricter enforcement and punishment of those found in violation of the current
    state law concerning tire chains and emergency equipment
  • Create strike teams of seven vehicles placed in strategic
    locations to provide rapid response during weather emergencies
  • Improve GDOT's ability to respond to emergency weather
    situations through updated equipment, storage, supply needs and enhancements
    such as pavement sensors to monitor road conditions
  • Promote operational and procedural enhancements with small
    incremental costs, including creating a Joint Information Center, coordinate
    communication with the trucking industry and the full utilization of electronic
    billboards on highways

 

In
addition to its other duties, the Governor's Severe Winter Weather Warning and
Preparedness Task Force will review the report and make any further
recommendations.

 

Full
report here.

 

(SOURCE: GOVERNOR'S OFFICE)