Visit to Georgia Emergency Management Agency State Operations Center (GEMA SOC)

Start Date: 2019/09/05

Description: The state of Georgia's response to Hurricane Dorian was coordinated by various agencies that were centralized in the State Operations Center (SOC), under the direction of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA). Many of the people in the SOC had been working 12 plus hours each day for the previous 5 days. The hurricane did not severely impact Georgia and many felt they had dodged a bullet. There were some units such EFS-8, public health and mental health. EFS-6, Sheltering, and the Public Information sections of both GEMA and FEMA that had been under high stress during this event, even though the severe impact of the hurricane "missed" the state of Georgia. For example, the nursing section was extremely busy coordinating the movement of people with medical needs and people in convalescent homes away from the coast and they were busy coordinating plans for the return of these individuals. We were invited to bring the HOPE teams in to visit the people manning the SOC. Vicki with her HOPE companion Pearl and Bill with Butterscotch interacted with 162 people in many different areas at the center. Some folks who manned the 24 hour emergency call-in lines had remained after their overnight shift had ended to visit with the HOPE teams and they were very happy to see them. After this visit, the HOPE teams met with the Job Director and the senior executives of the response who were highly grateful at our contributions. Subsequently, the two HOPE teams met with many groups of people including the Army, Georgia National Guard, Georgia Air Defense Patrol, Georgia Highway Patrol, American Red Cross, FEMA, GEMA, Georgia Dept. of Human Services (DHS), and many other agencies. The HOPE teams ended the deployment after making an initial visit to people in all departments.

Agency: GEMA
Teams: Vicki D'Amico and Pearl