POOLER, GA (WTOC) - A neighborhood spanning two cities was the scene of a major weather disaster Thursday. It's an exercise that Chatham Emergency Management practices every so often to make sure their teams are ready if the real deal occurs.
It all may feel like a blur after severe weather strikes, but these are the men and women who help put it all into focus.
They look at pictures placed in front of real homes in Pooler and Bloomingdale, then note what kind of shape the weather left their homes.
Mark Slaughter, a Chatham County construction inspector, and his team look at a picture that has severe damage to the structure, with a tree through the house. His team says severe damage, but the guide on the back of the picture deems it destroyed. A difference learned through practice that can make a huge impact on residents.
"We get that information back to the elected officials as quickly as possible and determine whether there's going to be a governor or presidential declaration here locally," said Gregori Anderson, Chatham County Director of the Department of Building Safety and Regulatory Services.
These volunteers are almost like first responders for your belongings and your home.
"Because if they don't have an assessment, they can't start the paperwork," Mark Slaughter, Chatham County construction inspector, told WTOC. "We are actually starting the paper work for them and then it goes from us to the next level."
Going through the motions, learning what to look for, and then making assessments will help us get on our feet if disaster strikes.
"We let them know that we're there to assist in the process to make them whole," said Anderson.
If you would like to be on one of the damage assessment teams, you have to go through a class and get certified. Keep checking the CEMA website when those classes will occur.