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Rincon City Council planning for Irma

POSTED: September 6, 2017 11:24 a.m.

 With lessons learned from Hurricane Matthew fresh in mind, Rincon city officials are busy preparing for a new weather threat.

Irma, a Category 5 hurricane, is churning in the Atlantic Ocean and some weather models project it to reach Georgia by Monday.

During a Rincon City Council workshop Tuesday night, city department heads issued updates about the city's level of preparedness. City Manager Wes Smith, who started his job just after Matthew struck the area in October of last year, also met earlier in the day with key city figures, including some council members.

"They have the experience of a hurricane here, which I do not," Smith said. "I trust them explicitly to take on things they need to take on and give me counsel that I might need as we go through this. I feel good about the team and the things we've been looking at in preparation."

During the workshop, the council assessed how many generators and ice machines it has to make sure each department can stay up and running during a storm. It also discussed the safety of its workers, especially emergency personnel.

City officials want residents to understand that they will be taking a risk by staying in Rincon if the storm hits here. According to Emergency Operations Command procedures, emergency workers, including police officers and firefighters, won't be dispatched if sustained winds reach 50 mph. That leaves the potential of 911 calls going unanswered for a few hours.

Council members urged the use of social media to get out that important message.

In case of an evacuation, the council discussed moving city property, including police cars and road-clearing equipment, to other areas for safekeeping. It also opted to keep computer servers in the safe at city hall.

In addition, city workers were urged to keep detailed work log -- including employee hours and equipment use -- during storm-related efforts so that the city can be reimbursed by the federal government. The city had to absorb the costs of some Matthew-related activities last year because of a lack of proper documentation.

The council vowed to meet as necessary as Irma continues its unpredictable path. 

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