FEMA preparing for Irene response - CBS46 News

FEMA preparing for Irene response

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As hurricane Irene bears down on the eastern seaboard, FEMA officials right here in Atlanta prepare last minute details for responding to the damage.

The FEMA command center on Chamblee Tucker Road has 120 people working around the clock.

"We are continuing to prepare here for the impending hurricane that is scheduled to hit North Carolina and we are here with all of the federal partners," said George Yearwood with FEMA.

Scores of federal employees prepare for hurricane Irene's arrival in North Carolina.

"Right now, as we speak, people are asking the question what is it that we need to be prepared for to deliver in the next 24 to 48 hours. And we continue to think forward, what is the impact of this particular hurricane?" said Yearwood.

And even though the hurricane isn't forecast to make landfall on Georgia's shores, our state might see an influx of evacuees from other states.

"Georgia is not scheduled to be impacted, however the emergency personnel who are fully trained within Georgia will lend out and lend a helping hand to North Carolina and any other state," said Yearwood.

The command cell in Northeast Atlanta is a clearing house of information. Agencies from the federal level right down to local authorities pass information through this room to coordinate an effective response after hurricane Irene makes landfall.

"We receive the information from the various states and we process that information and then in coordination with the teams that we have forward in the operational area, we assist them in making decisions. And we provide information to them," said Yearwood. "It helps us identify the needs for water, cots, baby food, etc. So this center here acts as a command coordination center."

Yearwood told CBS Atlanta he expects the greatest need in North Carolina after hurricane Irene makes land fall will be the health sector.

He said FEMA is working hard to make sure they've got the right people ready to respond as soon as help is needed.

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