Tybee runs hurricane prep drill

By Lynda Figueredo - bioemail

TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - Getting prepared ahead of the storm, that is what Tybee Island, Ga., emergency officials are doing on Wednesday.

They are conducting an emergency readiness exercise with the Chatham Emergency Management Agency. This is the first time Tybee emergency responders have gathered in one room for an exercise of this scale.

The drill is called Hurricane Gilligan and under the exercise, a hurricane is about to make landfall close to Tybee. City emergency officials, with the help of CEMA, are trying to find the best way to get people evacuated.

It's a simulation that could save lives.

"We are looking at the preparedness measure the city of Tybee takes," said CEMA assistant director Dennis Jones. "How they excavate their citizens. How they evacuate and their vital records. How they prepare the city for a hurricane event."

Tybee Mayor Jason Buelterman said the city redeveloped their hurricane response plan a few years ago, but now is the time to put that plan into practice and make sure it works. Just before hurricane season picks up.

"We are hopefull that if there are any gaps in the plan that we identify them now and get hem fixed now," he said.

Besides evacuating the town for a hurricane, responders are also having to deal with the demands of their everyday jobs.

"Whether it's traffic accidents for the police department, fire's for the fire departmen,  rescue by know we know the surf is up," said a CEMA employee.

The exercise gets responders to communicate with one another and put the plan to the ultimate test.

"[It's] to see if there are any gaps that maybe we can improve upon," Jones said. "Also, [to] find out what are the best exercises the city of Tybee conducts so that we can export that to other members of the community."

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