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Georgia's Plan for Disaster Preparedness

January 24, 2013
Tornado touching down next to a road.

If an emergency or disaster occurs, the state of Georgia has a plan to respond to victims, assess the situation, and make steps toward recovery.

Last Monday, Governor Deal issued an executive order updating the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security's authorization to implement the Georgia Emergency Operations Plan in a state of emergency. This order also holds agencies accountable for tasks that are assigned to them in the plan, which works to ensure mitigation and preparedness, appropriate response and timely recovery from natural and man-made hazards.

When disaster strikes, local officials immediately respond to protect life and property, while public works personnel work to restore services. Local officials may declare a state of emergency at this time. As they assess the magnitude of the situation, local officials may either ask for state assistance or decide they have sufficient resources to handle the situation. GEMA helps local officials with this process.

If handling the disaster requires additional assistance, GEMA will ask the Governor to declare a state of emergency. Doing this makes state resources available to local governments for response and recovery. It also may enact Georgia's price gouging statute.

After the disaster, the state will enact a preliminary damage assessment process. A joint effort between local, state and federal teams will survey the affected areas after it is safe to enter. Finally, if the Governor determines that the severity of the situation is beyond local and state resources, the Governor will request federal assistance.

GEMA encourages education and training to prepare citizens of Georgia to respond to emergencies or disasters in the most efficient manner. Visit Ready Georgia for more disaster preparedness tips.

About the Author

Sunita Kapahi writes about education, public safety, social services, and transportation for GeorgiaGov. She is an Atlanta native and a graduate of Georgia State University.