ATLANTA, GA — You might call FEMA’s Atlanta office the “nerve center” of the federal response to Hurricane Irma, which is expected to impact several southern states in the coming days.
FEMA’s Region IV headquarters, located off Chamblee-Tucker Road, serves Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida.
Starting Wednesday, the command center went into ‘round-the-clock mode.
“This is a large storm, and obviously, the coastal areas are impacted,” said Glen Sachtleben, the deputy response division director. “But as you look at the size of this particular hurricane, it could very well cover quite a bit of the land mass of Florida if it stays on its current path.”
Representatives from several federal agencies are staffing the command center, allowing a coordinated effort of pre-positioning personnel and supplies in the hurricane’s potential impact zone.
Sachtleben said citizens of Georgia should be prepared for high winds, heavy rain, flooding and possible tornadoes.
He said citizens of Florida should be particularly concerned about Irma, which is currently a Category 5 hurricane and is the considered the strongest hurricane to form in the Atlantic Ocean since satellite observations first began.
“Our message is please listen to your local authorities, to your county authorities, to your state authorities. They’re issuing either voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders,” said Sachtleben. “Pay attention to what the state and county and local authorities are advising you to do.”