MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb EMA is looking into new ways to prepare for potential disasters.
“You see it in pictures. It doesn’t near do it justice,” said EMA Director Spencer Hawkins after his tour of the Guardian Centers in Perry.
Where some people may only see rubble, crushed cars and complete disaster, Hawkins sees opportunity for more hands on training.
“It’s one thing to sit in a meeting room and look at a picture, watch a video, but when you’re actually walking through rubble, collapsed cars, it changes the dynamic of the training,” explained Hawkins.
Right now EMA does training online and during meetings. Hawkins wants to incorporate full-scale exercises in the future.
“As I was looking around the buildings, there were places that we could use for mass dispensing. If there was an incident where we had to dispense medications on a grand scale, or evacuation,” said Chrystal Morgan, the Emergency Preparedness Training Drill and Exercise Coordinator for the North Central Health District.
The group walked through a collapsed parking deck, an underground tunnel and a subway system disaster scenario.
“It’s difficult to think of how you would respond in a real situation, but when you see the buildings that are fallen and the flooded houses, you can definitely see where all the players fit,” explained Morgan.
Looking at the collapsed parking deck, Hawkins knew exactly how Macon-Bibb would handle a similar situation.
“Emergency management would coordinate the response. The search and rescue team would actually do the response. We’d work with hospitals to take all of those patients and make sure they’re safe,” explained Hawkins.
Hawkins said preparing for disasters requires communication among key players and proper training.
“One of our goals in the next few years is to do that full-scale exercise and we’re thirty minutes away [from the Guardian Centers]. What a fantastic opportunity right here in our backyard,” said Hawkins.
Hawkins hosts a monthly disaster prep meeting so every person who has a role in disaster response can be familiar with each other and up to date with the latest information.