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Newton County personnel prepares for storm
Collaborative safety effort to be based out of Newton County Fire Services Headquarters
Newton County Emergency Management Agency Director Jody Nolan briefs representatives from various agencies at the Newton County Fire Services Headquarters ahead of a snow storm in a past year. - photo by File Photo

The Newton County Fire Services Headquarters, located at 4136 Georgia Highway 278, will be the Covington/Newton County Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Operations Center for this weekend’s predicted winter storm starting at 7 p.m. Friday.

Newton County emergency personnel met at the fire services headquarters Thursday to discuss its plans in a collaborative manner with other entities from around the county. The north and central Georgia region was placed under a winter storm watch starting at 7 p.m. Friday. The National Weather Service expects around 1.6 inches of snow to fall on Newton County from Friday evening through 1 p.m. Saturday.

Beginning Friday evening, Newton County Fire Services will increase its on-call staff from 17 members at one time to 32. In addition to the added personnel, each station will also have a 4-wheel drive pickup truck available alongside its typical trucks and engines.

Newton County Public Works is also beefing up its staffing, and will have five “strike teams” equipped with a calcium-chloride solution, and two or three additional task force trucks with blades for snow and chain saws for tree removal. Each “strike team” which will rapidly respond to emergency calls, will consist of two crew members and be based out of fire stations throughout the county. Road crews will head out to prepare roads late Friday evening, before the predicted snow and after a predicted rainfall Thursday evening.

Each organization with a hand in storm emergency and relief efforts – fire services, emergency-911, law enforcement, the city of Covington and utilities providers – will have staff at the fire services headquarters in order to provide a quick, collaborative response.

Additional staffing will remain in place until the storm and its potential fallout of hazardous roads has passed.

Temperatures are expected to rise to above freezing throughout the area on Tuesday.

Newton County personnel will attend two more briefings, at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., on Thursday.