By REBECCA HAZEN
Strong storms in the county last week prompted Dade County Director of Emergency Services Alex Case to remind citizens of the ways they can prepare and stay safe in inclement weather.
“We had severe storms roll in, especially on the south side of our county. We were under a severe thunderstorm warning, and we had a lot of different alerts go out. We were monitoring the situation at the Emergency Operations Center. Hyper-Reach did go out to folks in those areas,” Case said during the weekly county update on Thursday, Dec. 30.
Dade County is in the process of getting three storm shelters. The first storm shelter to be completed will be at the Dade County Sports Complex. The other two will be located at the South Dade Community Center on School Street and at Davis Elementary.
“We are moving forward with our storm shelters. We have three buildings being built from a hazard mitigation grant that we applied for in 2016, and we were awarded in 2019,” Case said.
Case continued, “The buildings will hold up to 265 people during a possible tornado situation. These buildings could also be used for community meetings.”
The county also has three outdoor warning sirens, located near Dade Elementary School, Dade County Sports Complex, and Davis Elementary.
“These sirens are designed for outdoor activities, if a storm pops up quickly,” Case said. “These only go off during a tornado warning.”
Case noted that citizens should take advantage of and sign up for Hyper-Reach, an alert system, which can be signed up for at dadecounty-ga.gov.
“This is an option to opt-in to be notified, if you wanted to be notified by email, by text,” Case said. “We also use this tool if we need to call a specific area during an event of a possible lost child, or an elderly person that has wandered away.”
The alerts for Hyper-Reach are triggered by the National Weather Service.
“We received several messages last night that said, ‘I did not get an alert.’ This is because when you sign up for Hyper-Reach, you put in your physical E-911 mailing address. When the National Weather Service drew the warning, they only drew a small section of Dade County,” Case explained.
According to Case, the Administrative Building can be unlocked quickly after hours if anyone wants or needs to take shelter during a storm. If a severe thunderstorm warning is already happening, the best place to go is in the center of the home.
Also during the county update, County Executive Ted Rumley noted that he has had a few calls regarding road maintenance during winter weather.
“We have plenty of salt and gravel. We are ready if we get any winter action,” Rumley said.
In related news, paving and patching work is being done on Murphy Holly Road and Back Valley Road.
Rumley noted that there was a ceremony last week to mount a plaque at the North Dade Fire and Rescue Station, to thank David E. Paris for his 40 years of service and dedication to the North Dade community. A few months prior, Paris was presented with the plaque at a County Commission meeting.
“It was a special day,” Rumley said. “Forty years, that’s a lot of volunteer time for a person to put in. If you see him, you need to pat him on the back.”
Dade County has seen 66 cases in the past two weeks, for a total of 1,975 COVID-19 cases.
The number of cases can be found at https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report.
There is free COVID-19 testing every Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Colonnade in Ringgold. The Dade County Health Department currently does not do testing.
“Our numbers are up, as are in many counties. A month ago, these numbers were half of that or less,” Rumley said. “You just need to be careful.”
The weekly update is broadcast on Facebook and YouTube on Thursdays at 3 p.m.