It can be a matter of life or death.
Operations Chief with Columbia County Fire Rescue, Danny Kuhlmann, says they could be, “large wild fires, chemical spills, large building fires that have chemicals in them, tornadoes, flooding, anything like that.”
From several large brush fires to a blaze that destroyed the Georgia Pacific plant in Thomson, our area has seen its fair share of devastating fires.
“We have established evacuation centers in the county,” says Kuhlmann.
The Chief Deputy on location will determine the danger, and they’ll call an evacuation. From there, it takes a team.
“Emergency management, the Georgia Emergency Management, the Sheriff’s office, state patrol,” says Kuhlmann.
American Red Cross is also included on that list.
Disaster Programs Manager for Red Cross, Mike Kimball, says, “we would typically open either a reunification center for families or we would open a shelter, if needed, if there was a large population that was evacuated.”
They provide the necessary resources for citizens, and they even make sure the first responders are getting what they need.
“Typically we would get a call from the Fire Department. They would ask that we come out and provide them with meals and bottled water,” says Kimball.
Kuhlmann says, “Red Cross are very helpful and very good.”
First responders have a system for people to know when there is an emergency.
“911 has a system that they can call everybody on. We have a Code Red app that people can sign up for and get emergency information from,” says Kuhlmann.
Red Cross website shows where evacuation sites are in a certain area, so people can pre-plan, just in case disaster strikes.
“All families should have their own personalized evacuation plan. Know your escape routes, know where your local shelters are, make sure you turn to local TV and radio to find out where your shelters will be opened,” says Kimball, “and once we get the notification we try to get them opened in an hour or two depending on the location is. We’ll staff them volunteers, and we’ll get cots and blankets and everything.”
As always you can stay tuned for NewsChannel 6 for any traffic updates and any information on areas needing to seek shelter in the case of an emergency.