Chatham County’s 2020 Hurricane Conference was cancelled due to COVID-19. Nationally, there is a void of information sharing and collective knowledge that we are working to fill. The Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) and the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a virtual hurricane conference on July 30, 2020, entitled: “Hurricane Preparedness During a Pandemic”.   

This conference will provide timely information and updates for hurricane preparedness in these unprecedented circumstances. From preparation and planning to volunteer organizations, community outreach, response, and recovery, this online conference will provide a unique mix of expertise from across local, state, and federal agencies combined with leading university researchers. The conference is designed for a broad audience including public officials, planners, emergency managers, public health, transportation, and private industry representatives who live and work in vulnerable communities across the United States. Specific roles that will benefit from attending the conference include law enforcement, disaster preparedness, emergency management officials, planners, public health officials, news media, public information officers, volunteer organizations, community organizers, public works officials, port authority officials, city and county managers, and business community members.

A few presentations include:

  • 2020 Hurricane Season Outlook- Colorado State University- CSU will outline their prediction for the 2020 hurricane season and explain how their predictions are developed.
  • Incorporating Social Vulnerability into Damage Assessments- Providing assistance to those in greatest need is a primary response goal. When you have sustained damages across a wide area, how do you prioritize damage assessments?
  • Managing Volunteers during a Pandemic- Learn how Tennessee Emergency Management Agency leveraged the power of volunteers across the areas devastated by tornadoes, while also battling COVID-19.
  • Preparing for Vulnerable Populations- How do you plan for vulnerable populations during a hurricane while also responding to COVID-19? Join this session to learn how to best plan for these residents and considerations needed for your community.
  • Food and Disaster Supply Shortages- Danah Craft with the Georgia Food Bank Association will outline how organizations can plan for a hurricane while also managing a state-wide response for COVID-19. What considerations should you be planning for now?
  • Hurricane Planning during a Public Health Emergency- Join us for a panel of emergency management experts and hear how some of the top cities/local governments are planning for the 2020 hurricane season. Reduced shelter capacity? Increased evacuation time? Social distancing requirements? So many decisions to be made with so little time.
  • Faith Based Outreach in a COVID Environment- Faith Based Organizations and Houses of Worship are often the first line of defense in disaster recovery. However, these community staples are experiencing unprecedented challenges in a COVID world. Kevin Smith, Director of the DHS Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives, will discuss how emergency management and government officials can continue to engage these organizations and better prepare residents for hurricane season and beyond.
  • Hurricane Hazard Messaging Best Practices- A panel including Harris County Texas, National Weather Service, Florida Division of Emergency Management, Savannah College of Art and Design and Georgia Tech Emergency Management will discuss how they explain the risks of hurricanes to their residents. Each agency has a different target audience and way to share their message. Learn the best ways to communicate the hazards with your community during our afternoon keynote presentation. 

This is only a select few of the impressive presentations that we have planned for this virtual hurricane conference. Participants will not only have access to workshops throughout the day, but will also have unlimited access after the conference to watch missed sessions or re-watch your favorite. ou do not want to miss this opportunity!

To register, visit: https://pe.gatech.edu/savannah/conferences/hurricane-preparedness-during-pandemic