The Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services is paying close attention to weather forecasters as Hurricane Irma barrels toward the Florida coastline.  Although landfall will be hundreds of miles away, effects of the massive storm will be felt across much of Georgia, including Gwinnett.

Fire Officials have been monitoring the storm’s progress over the past week and attended several National Weather Service briefings at the Gwinnett County Office of Emergency Management.  Plans are currently in place to staff additional fire engines, ambulances and specialty team units to handle the threat of downed trees and potential flooding.  Firefighters specially trained in multi-patient incidents, technical rescues and swiftwater emergencies have been busy double checking equipment and reviewing safety measures to ensure operational readiness.  “While the department stays at the ready on a daily basis to handle an array of emergency situations, issues created by tropical storm conditions require extra diligence.” said Fire Captain Tommy Rutledge.

The public is also encouraged to be prepared and to keep a watchful eye on local news reports and changing weather conditions during the early part of the week.  Have a plan in place for family members and coworkers in the event that conditions worsen due to the severe weather threat. 

The following tips may be helpful in staying safe:

  • Have extra items on hand like: bottled water, non-perishable food and snacks, prescription medications, change of clothing, flashlight with extra batteries, blankets, first aid kit and a charged cell phone to stay in touch with family or to call for help. 
  • If possible, avoid being outside during inclement weather.
  • Stay away from flooded areas and never attempt to drive through standing water.
  • Secure outdoor furnishings that could become projectiles in the wind.
  • Know where to go inside your home or workplace during a severe thunderstorm warning or tornado.
  • Avoid contact with downed power lines and be sure to report them to 9-1-1 and the appropriate utility company.
  • Watch out for each other and be prepared to evacuate or shelter-in-place if the need arises.

Dropbox Video/Photo Link - Firefighters Preparing for Storm Response:

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