Georgia has well-established and much-practiced mechanisms in place to respond to disasters and other large-scale emergencies. However, in the wake of 2001’s terrorist attacks against the United States, it became evident that better planning and communication among federal, state and local emergency responders and government officials would further enhance Georgia’s ability to rapidly and effectively respond to large-scale disasters. To improve communication and help fight terrorism at the local level, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) has organized Regional All Hazards Councils, established within the eight existing GEMA regions consistent with the current state and local government disaster/emergency response system.
These councils bring together community leaders and key consequence managers to develop preparedness, response and recovery strategies for all disasters, both natural and man-made, for their region. Councils are composed of two each: sheriffs, police chiefs, public health directors, fire chiefs, emergency medical services directors, medical examiners, 9-1-1 center directors, emergency managers, mayors and county commissioners. Additional members may be added as needed.
The mission of these councils is to:
· improve local, state and federal information sharing,
· identify critical regional infrastructure and potential terrorist targets,
· prepare regional response plans,
· facilitate mutual aid agreements for communities to share resources,
· identify capacity needs,
· conduct training and exercises, and
· bring federal Citizen Corps programs to local communities.
The first council was established in Atlanta in September 2002, and the seven others soon followed. They have proven to be a valuable asset to state and local communities in their continuing fight against terrorism and responding to other hazards. Although much progress has been made in preparing for the next wave of terrorist attacks, we must remain committed and ever vigilant lest we allow history to repeat itself.
For a list of the All Hazard Council Chairpersons across the state, click here - AHC Chairpersons
2006 State Strategic Plan