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Long County participates in statewide hurricane drill

POSTED: June 17, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Last Tuesday and Wednesday, several Long County Emergency First Responders took part in Hurrex 2008, a statewide hurricane drill.
The exercise scenario, coordinated by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, was the culmination of months of work by emergency workers from all over the state.
The exercise lasted 24 hours, from 7 a.m. Tuesday until 7 a.m. Wednesday, and simulated catastrophic conditions that might occur if a Category 4 hurricane were to directly hit Georgia's coast.
Goals of the exercise included an evaluation of the State Operations Center's capabilities over a multi-operational period, and to allow state-level participants the opportunity to develop and support a common operational plan. The drill also allowed local municipalities the chance to deploy and evaluate their specific disaster-response plans and procedures while interacting with state-level assistance groups.
Long County Emergency Management Agency Director Darrell Balance coordinated Long County's role in the drill. The Health Department, the Department of Family and Children's Services, the Georgia Forestry Commission, the Board of Education, the Long County Sheriff's Department and the Ludowici Police Department also participated.
According to Ballance, individuals taking part in the exercise tackled a multitude of tasks, such as relocating forestry equipment before the storm hit, making it available for post-hurricane rescue operations, and working out a plan catering to the specific needs of homebound senior citizens who would need to be evacuated.
"A drill like this helps all of us be a little more prepared, should a real hurricane hit our area. It establishes a dialogue between agencies at all levels and helps up prepare for a few of the kinks which might happen in a real event," Ballance said.
Even though Long County is not on the coast, Ballance explained, it is only one county over, and the dangers from a hurricane are still ever-present.
"Hurricane season is June through November," Ballance said. "People and organizations need to start taking precautions and preparing for an actual emergency now, and not wait until the last minute."
 

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