All Fayette students home by 6:45 p.m. Tuesday; all county roads passable but dangerous

“Our Public Safety and Emergency Management folks did a great job coordinating this effort and our response. I’m told that all Fayette roads, though dangerous, are passable except Kite Lake Trail,” Fayette County Administrator Rapson reported to the Fayette County commissioners via email at 1 p.m. Jan. 29.

“State DOT has one truck operating on state highways; our Road Department is monitoring county roads; EOC remains up and operational; Piedmont Fayette has its command center open and functioning; Fire and EMS is running below average call volume at this time as a result of low traffic volumes,” Rapson said.

“Sunlight is helping roads considerably but we’re saving remaining salt for evening and tomorrow morning,” Rapson said.

“Georgia Emergency Management Agency requests that travel be limited to emergencies only for your safety,and for the safety of emergency officials and Georgia Department of Transportation employees that continue to respond to the dangerous impacts of the winter storm,” Rapson said.

Here’s his report to the commissioners:

Winter Storm Warning Incident January 28-29, 2014

Operational Period 12 p.m. January 28-January 29 8 a.m.

Incident Summary

Fayette County experienced a winter storm during the operational period that quickly dropped approximately 2.5 inches throughout the county. Below freezing temperatures quickly froze snow to roadways causing traffic delays and an above average number of vehicle accidents as well as delays in school bus transportation of children home from school.

Pre-Incident Planning

On Monday and Tuesday there were operational planning meetings to discuss and plan for the event. These included webinars with the National Weather Service. The following Emergency Support Functions were briefed and participated;

ESF (Emergency Support Function)

ESF 2 Communications (911)
ESF3 Public Works
ESF 4 Fire and EMS
ESF 5 Emergency Management
ESF 7 Logistics
ESF 8 Medical Care/Public Health
ESF 13 Law Enforcement
ESF 15 External Affairs (County Administration)
Fayette County Board of Education

These pre-incident planning meeting was held to inform all ESF’s and municipal governments of the expected impacts of the winter event.

Special Planning Consideration

As a result of the planning meeting the following actions were taken or considered in anticipation of the winter weather event

Fire and Emergency Services added a squad and engine company to supplement the demand for services.

Fayette County Board of Education would close schools early.

Fayette County Public Works created 12 hour shifts to ensure staff would be available for sanding and road clearing.

The Emergency Operation Center was activated at a level II.

Consideration of early closing of government offices.

Piedmont Fayette’s Command Center was activated to ensure the operational readiness and medical care.

Additional Law Enforcement personnel were called in to assist with the response.

Operational Impacts

At approximately 1:30 on Tuesday road conditions quickly deteriorated to the point where Law Enforcement and Fire and Emergency Services were kept very busy with calls for service especially in the areas of vehicle accidents, stranded motorists and a high volume of traffic on state highways.

Call volume during the early part of the operational period was slightly above normal but did not exceed ability to meet the demand for services by all departments.

By 1:30 p.m. the decision was made to close government offices and the Fayette County School System.

Due to the rapid deterioration of the roads the Board of Education Transportation Department was having difficulty transporting children from schools to their homes and in some cases even getting to the school to pick up the children.

Coordination with the Board of Education, Emergency Management, the Road Department and the Sheriff’s Office proved invaluable in getting school children home safely to their homes by 6:45 p.m.

Due to this coordination there were no children sheltered in any schools last night.

There were some minor injuries from vehicle accidents and no fatalities related to the winter event.

A summary of calls related to the winter event is also attached.

Current Conditions

As of 08:00 all roads, while still dangerous, are considered passable. Call volumes are currently below average but are expected to increase as the public venture out through out the day. State DOT, County and Municipal Road Department’s continue to work toward improving road conditions. Some melting of ice and snow on roadways is improving condition however; a refreeze of wet surfaces is probable tonight.

Special Note: Governor Nathan Deal has declared a State of Emergency Declaration for affected area. As a result of this we will be collecting weather response related cost for reimbursement consideration.

All utilities are functioning normally.