AP NEWS

Georgia county seeks 200 actors for evacuation drill

February 9, 2019

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Emergency managers in one Georgia County are looking for about 200 volunteers to help make more realistic an evacuation drill in March.

The Chatham Emergency Management Agency will conduct a full-scale exercise March 26 at the Coastal Georgia Center and the Savannah Civic Center.

The exercise will test the county’s Evacuation Assembly Area plan, The Savannah Morning News reported. The plan is implemented when the public needs transportation assistance during a county evacuation order, as happened with Hurricanes Irma and Matthew. The last time the exercise was conducted was 2015.

Volunteers should be willing to simulate the general population. The volunteers will be transported from the Coastal Georgia Center to the Civic Center, where they will be “screened and processed” before being returned to the Coastal Georgia Center. They will be transported to and from multiple times throughout the exercise, but will have opportunities to rest. Food will be provided.

“Our goal is to process up to 200 ‘evacuees’ for transportation,” said CEMA Assistant Director Don Sullens. “That would be the equivalent of one bus convoy of seven buses.”

Volunteers should expect the exercise to last from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“Over the years, we have made minor changes to the plan which reflect lessons learned from our last two mandatory evacuations,” Sullens said. “This will give emergency partners the opportunity to evaluate those changes so we will be better prepared if the need to evacuate occurs again this coming storm season.

“Better to be ready and not have to do it, than to have to do it and not be ready.”

All participants must register. To volunteer, contact Taylor Sanchez with CEMA at 912-201-4500 or tsanchez@chathamcounty.org.

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Information from: Savannah Morning News, http://www.savannahnow.com