Sumter County Disaster Recovery and Redevelopment Plan Explores Challenges and Strengths

Published 4:58 pm Friday, September 29, 2023

The Sumter County Disaster Recovery & Redevelopment Plan stakeholder engagement workshop was held at the EOC on Sept 27th.
Dr. Beatrice Soler, the Individual Assistance Program Manager, explained the source for the funding for the disaster and recovery workshop.
“We are able to get these funds from HUD essentially to try to incorporate recovery plans because of Hurricane Michael.”
Georgia DRRP Project Lead with FCMC Dani Landry addressed those assembled.
“We’re not asking the county to create a plan at all. We are doing the plan for you. We don’t ask anything from you except your participation in the stakeholder engagement workshop so that we can learn more about your county.”
A key highlight was SWOT analysis, where community stake holders were invited to list strengths and weaknesses that would be relevant in an emergency so that disaster planning could be tailored to specific challenges facing Sumter County.
Nigel Poole, the county EMS director, stated several strengths his team had listed from the analysis.
“One of our biggest strengths is our participation between our county and city, primarily the city of Americus. Another strength of ours is that we have partnerships that are already in place both with businesses and volunteer organizations.”
He began to list some of the partners, including the following:
“First responders, Phoebe Sumter medical center, dialysis clinics, the school system, we have good partnerships with long term care, our GIS department, our fire marshal, our district public health and local public health, we have lots of volunteers that are plugged in and engaged, we have good partnerships with most all of our churches, we have two local universities here, Georgia Southwestern and South Georgia Technical college that we have wonderful partnerships with, we have good partnerships with our civic organizations, our county leaders, and then we have a group CitizenCorps, that’s our volunteers, and we also have great partnerships with Ameri-Green, which is our debris pick-up and trash pick-up company.”
He listed a final strength:
“Our other strength that we listed was good planning and zoning ordinances already in place.”
He then stated weakness.
“We have different radios between our county and city, and that’s a weakness. Another weakness is the smaller cities don’t participate in community planning.”
He clarified which he was referring to.
“Andersonville, Plains, Leslie and DeSoto.”
Debris removal was another issue.
“Our debris management plan needs to be updated and put better into place.”
He then listed threats:
“Common threats for us include tornadoes, hurricanes, tropical storms, flooding, and severe weather. Very old water system in the city of Americus. We have some issues with our dam infrastructure, we have a gas refinery that is right across the street from our hospital. We have lots of railroad and Hazmat potential issues because of what the rail cars carry, we have an enhanced 911 center that is located out of this county. There is the potential to lose communication with them as we have done before, so that is a threat to us.”