Emergency Management Agency
Newton County Emergency Management Agency (NCEMA) mission is to provide a comprehensive and aggressive all‐hazards approach to homeland security initiatives, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery and special events in order to protect life and property and prevent and/or reduce negative impacts of terrorism and natural disasters in Georgia.
The primary role of NCEMA is to provide the following processes to deal with disaster situations:
Mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. This is achieved through risk analysis, which results in information that provides a foundation for mitigation activities that reduce risk, and flood insurance that protects financial investment.
Preparedness refers to the state of being prepared for specific or unpredictable events or situations. Preparedness is an important quality in achieving goals and in avoiding and mitigating negative outcomes. It is a major phase of emergency management.
The response phase of an emergency may commence with search and rescue but in all cases the focus will quickly turn to fulfilling the basic humanitarian needs of the affected population. Effective coordination of disaster assistance is often crucial, particularly when many organizations respond and Local Emergency Management Agency (LEMA) capacity has been exceeded by the demand or diminished by the disaster itself.
The aim of the recovery phase is to restore the affected area to its previous state. It differs from the response phase in its focus; recovery efforts are concerned with issues and decisions that must be made after immediate needs are addressed. Recovery efforts are primarily concerned with actions that involve rebuilding destroyed property, and the repair of other essential infrastructure.
We attempt this process with an all hazards approach, trying to take into account all possibilities but at times it is difficult as many different new situations arise every year.
NCEMA responds to nearly every large incident within the County:
- Any other situation where EMA is requested or may be able to provide a service
- Large vehicle accidents (the majority involving hazardous materials)
- Other hazardous materials spills to mitigate the cleanup
Our department also maintains a Local Emergency Operations Plan (LEOP) which outlines policies and procedures for dealing with a verity of emergency situations within Newton County, which is one of the many requirements that assures that Newton County will be eligible for assistance through the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) if the disaster is declared by the Governor at the state level or the President at a federal level.
The latest being the tornado that struck The Town of Newborn in April, 2011 where damage was in excess of $750,000.
Wendy Patterson is the Newton County Emergency Management Agency Director.
Many employees in other Newton County departments are a part of the team that makes up Newton County Emergency Management. Newton County employees in GIS, Tax Appraisal, Public Works, Tax Assessors Office and others make up Newton County’s Damage Assessment Team.
Employees Providing Assistance
On many incidents Newton County Public Works Employees and Newton County Solid Waste Management Employees have spent countless hours on the side of the highway clearing debris and providing assistance in the protection the Citizens of Newton County from Hazardous Material spills or hauling burnt cargo to the landfill to keep the roads safe.
Storm Ready County
StormReady is a National Weather Service (NWS) program designed to recognize counties that have reached a high level of severe weather preparedness. To be recognized as StormReady, a county must meet criteria established jointly between the NWS and state and local emergency management officials. These criteria include:
- Being able to monitor local weather / river conditions
- Conducting periodic drills / exercises
- Having a formal hazardous weather plan
- Having a local 24-hour warning point and an Emergency Operations Center
- Having multiple ways of alerting the public
- Having multiple ways of receiving NWS warnings
- Having trained spotters
- Interacting with their supporting NWS office
- Promoting public readiness through community seminars and presentations
NCEMA maintains a vast array of training opportunities for Newton County employees both online and in a classroom setting to any department that may request it.
Some examples are the following:
- Blood Borne Pathogen and Many Others
- Confined Space Entry
- Defensive Driving
- First Aid
- Hazardous Material Identification and Spill Management
- Work Place Emergencies
We also on occasion provide training to the citizens of Newton County on the subject of emergency preparedness.