|The governor of Georgia called it the region’s “biggest enemy“: a blanket of ice and snow that slammed the southeast in January and February. “This is one of Mother Nature’s worst kind of storms that can be inflicted on the South,” he told reporters.
He wasn’t exaggerating: Georgia’s utility services were crippled for days after ice-laden tree limbs crashed onto power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands without power for days.
Atlantans also cleaned out stores of essentials, buying up as much bread, milk and firewood as they could get their hands on and leaving shelves bare.
And then there was the gridlock. Thanks to the ice that covered the roads, commuters in Atlanta were trapped in a traffic apocalypse, stuck on the road for as much as 20 hours. It got so bad that many drivers abandoned their cars, heading to grocery and convenience stores for overnight shelter.
Those drivers probably had the right idea. In all, there were more than 1,460 crashes, resulting in two fatalities and 175 injuries.
What lessons has the region learned from this unexpected and unpredictable emergency situation? That’s the subject of theAtlanta Up Close Panel Discussion at the DRI2014 Conference on Wednesday, May 21. On hand to tell us what continuity and preparedness are all about in our host city are three public and private sector officials and continuity pros:
Sgt. Aston Green – Currently serving as the Commander of the Emergency Preparedness Unit for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) – the ninth largest public transportation system in the U.S., Sgt. Green works on a variety of high-profile security and emergency management projects. He’s a Certified Emergency Manager for the state of Georgia with advance training in counter-terrorism, and has also helped establish the DeKalb Emergency Management Agency.
Michele Guido – As Business Assurance Principal for Southern Company (parent company of Georgia Power, Gulf Power and others), Guido is responsible for the business continuity program and strategy, and acts as liaison with internal and external policy groups. With 25 years of experience in the continuity industry, she is also Chair of the Edison Electric Institute Business Continuity Leadership Committee.
Gus Hudson – The Security Manager at the Atlanta International Airport has worked in emergency management and homeland security in the aviation field for the last 20 years. Hudson has successfully activated the Airport Operation Center and Emergency Operations Center, where he is responsible for planning, training, testing and coordination of Emergency Response Operations.