SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Chatham County Emergency Management Director, Dennis Jones discussed how CEMA is preparing for Hurricane Michael on Monday.
Here’s the question and answer session:
Elizabeth Rawlins, WTOC: “Right now, CEMA is operating at OPCON 4. Can you explain what that means?”
Dennis Jones, CEMA: “We entered into Operating Condition 4 which is an enhanced monitoring phase for us. It allows us to bring partners together to really take a look at what the storm is doing and really monitor what the potential impacts are and what those potential impacts could be to us. It also allows us to start coordinating with partners, making sure that they are ready to protect assets.”
Elizabeth Rawlins, WTOC: “Is CEMA making any preparations for shelters."
Dennis Jones, CEMA: “Right now, we are not talking about sheltering operations, that will be something we will continue to evaluate the threat of the storm and also take a look at where we could open shelters if we needed to."
Elizabeth Rawlins, WTOC: “Under what OPCON level will CEMA start establishing shelters?”
Dennis Jones, CEMA: “We will start talking about it at OPCON 3. If we determine that there’s a need to open up a shelter, it could be during OPCON 2 or OPCON 1. Right now, we don’t anticipate that though. We do encourage people to get to a safe shelter if they feel that they are in a property that won’t sustain tropical storm force winds.”
Elizabeth Rawlins, WTOC: “Is that contingent on schools closing? Are shelters often established because of schools that are out?”
Dennis Jones, CEMA: “A lot of the shelters in Chatham County are schools. We also have some community centers that will serve as shelters as well so if we have to open up any shelters. We will take a look at what the school system is doing and are there any school systems that could be available. If that’s a no, we’ve got the community shelters that we could open up as well.
Jones says CEMA could upgrade to OPCON level 3 as early as Tuesday which means shelters will become a part of the conversation when it comes to planning.
So far, schools in Savannah-Chatham County have not made a decision about whether to cancel school.