By REBECCA HAZEN
Dade County is now designated as a Storm Ready Community, and will hold that designation through March 3, 2025.
Alex Case, Director of Emergency Services, spoke about the designation, what it took to get that designation, and what resources are available to the community, during the online county update on Thursday, Sept. 23.
“We’ve been working on keeping our community aware of national weather service events that come through our county,” Case said. One of the things that we’ve done in the past is we got recognized as a Storm Ready Community. We have to do certain things every four years to re–qualify. We just went through that re–qualification again.”
The county has outdoor warning sirens, obtained through federal grants. The sirens are located near the Dade County Administrative Building, the Dade County Sports Complex, and Davis School Road.
The county also has Reach Dade with Hyper-Reach. It is an opt-in service where people can be notified by cell, text, landline or email for severe thunderstorm warnings, tornado warnings and flood warnings. To sign up, go to dadecounty-ga.gov, click on “Services” and then “Emergency Notifications.”
“Some of the best things that we have in our community, are storm responders,” Case said.
Dade and Walker County alternate hosting a Skywarn Storm Spotter class. The last class, held this past spring, was a virtual class. Case noted that the class had good participation.
“The storm spotters that live in Dade County, that took that class, they report what they see as storms are moving. It gives the idea to the weather service, to either issue that watch, and or warning,” Case explained.
Case continued, “This is something that we are very proud of.”
Case noted that some community members have asked about the in-progress storm shelters, and wondered how the community could have the Storm Ready designation without storm shelters.
“We don’t have to have storm shelters to be storm ready. On the storm shelters, we are getting closer every day … there have been many delays, including weather,” Case said.
Two of the buildings are completely constructed and are waiting at the manufacturer’s facility. The shelters will hold 265 people each, and will be located at the Dade County Sports Complex, South Dade Community Center, and Davis School Road.
“I hope next week we will be breaking ground on the first one,” Case said.
Also during the county update, Dade County Board of Elections member Carolyn Hixson informed community members about what should be on their voter cards when they vote.
Both elections in November will be on one card, if you are a city resident. As a city resident, the yellow voter card will contain two races, both the city election and the county special election.
“Be sure to look at the races as you see them appear on your voter screen. It is called the ballot marker. At this time, you can look and see and make sure that you, as a city-county resident, have both races,” Hixson said.
If you are only a county resident, you will only have the one election, the special election.
“If you don’t have what you should be voting for, ask for some help. We have all kinds of people here who will be glad to help,” Hixson said. “It can be fixed, unless you hit the cast ballot vote, and then it’s over and done with.”
Advanced voting begins Oct. 12. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 2. For questions, call the Board of Elections Office at (706) 657-8170.
In COVID-19 related news, the FDA announced that a Pfizer booster shot for ages 65 and older has been approved, however, Dade County Executive Ted Rumley noted that it has not been approved yet at the Georgia state level.
Dade County has seen 67 cases in the past two weeks, for a total of 1,708 COVID-19 cases. The number of cases can be found at https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report.