ATLANTA -- Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed activated the Joint Operations Command Center today in the Public Safety Headquarters, in response to the major thunderstorms that are expected to hit Atlanta..
The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm advisory for this evening for many parts of metro Atlanta. Our own Merteorologists at 11Alive have said that the last time there were "similar conditions to what we are having today and tonight, was the day after the Atlanta tornado in March 2008." In the event of the weather turning very bad, the Mayor has the essential personnel from the APD, Atlanta Fire and Rescue, Department of Public Works, and the Department of Parks on standby. As well, key operational agencies will monitor weather, traffic, and reports of power outages and fallen trees.
All of these Atlanta agencies will be housed together in one main Command Center so that there can be a coordinated emergency response to situations.
Residents should report downed trees by calling the Department of Parks Customer Service at 404-546-6813. After 4:30 p.m., residents should call 9-1-1 for fallen trees.
The Following are guidelines released by the Mayor's Office:
Residents are encouraged to stock up on flashlights, fresh batteries, blankets, non-perishable food items and bottled water ahead of time. Should the weather worsen this evening, residents should seek refuge in their basement. Those without basements will be safest in an interior hallway, closet or bathroom and away from windows.
In the event of a power outage and downed trees, residents should remember the following:
- Dial 9-1-1 if anyone has a life-threatening medical emergency;
- Always avoid downed power lines. Any downed line should be considered live and therefore dangerous. Report downed lines immediately to public safety authorities and stay out of the immediate area;
- Avoid debris on the ground that may conceal downed power lines and make sure there are no downed lines before allowing children out to play. Do not attempt to make repairs to electrical system or pull limbs off lines;
- Watch out for falling trees, tree limbs and power lines.
- Steer clear of crew work areas. Equipment and energized lines may be in the area that could create a safety hazard;
- When driving, watch for crews working along the roadways, and obey all traffic signs and directions around work areas;
- When leaving your home and power is off, turn off the main breaker as a precaution to avoid a power surge once the power is restored; and
- Be patient. When major outages occur, crews must first restore power to transmission lines and distribution circuits before working on distribution lines that feed directly to homes and businesses.
The Atlanta Fire and Rescue Department has advised residents to keep the following in mind:
- Get off the roads early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather;
- Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a cap;
- Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions;
- Secure your home: Close and lock doors and windows;
- Stay away from windows and seek shelter in the interior of your residence;
- Unplug electrical equipment, such as radios and televisions, and small appliances such as toasters and microwaves;
- Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding;
- Be alert for washed-out roads and bridges;
- Do not drive into flooded areas; and
- Stay away from downed power lines.