Community Leaders Provide Update on Hurricane Irma Preparations, Shelters

Staff Report From Middle Georgia CEO

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

At a media conference Wednesday, September 6, representatives from several organizations gave updates on how they’re working with the Macon-Bibb County Emergency Management Agency to prepare for the effects of Hurricane Irma. You can watch that press conference here.

"The time to prepare is now. Get your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and make sure they’re ready. Get an emergency kit together. Make a plan for when the storm hits here. You can find help to get ready on our website-,” said EMA Director Spencer Hawkins, “We’re working with several local agencies to make sure we’re prepared for evacuees and impacts from the storm.”

Executive Director for the Red Cross of Central Midwest Georgia, Connie Hensler, says The Red Cross is prepared to open 20 shelters statewide, to house 10,000 people who need it. That includes three shelters here in Macon-Bibb County. Many people want to volunteer during times of need, so the Red Cross is offering registration classes so people will be certified to volunteer at these shelters. If you’re interested in doing so, visit the Red Cross website here. You can also call 1-800-RED-CROSS. The classes are also open for large groups of people, such as a church, who would like to become Red Cross certified volunteers.

Naomi Ladson with the Salvation Army says they’ll also need volunteers in many areas, because a lot of their volunteers are in Texas dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. There are several areas in which people can help the Salvation Army. To learn more, you can call their office at (478) 746-8572.

David Gowan, Risk Management Director for the Bibb County School system, says his team is monitoring Irma, and they’re prepared to make decisions regarding closure next week once we have a clearer picture of how Irma will impact us here.

Gary Wheat, President and CEO at the Macon-Bibb Convention and Visitors Bureau, says all our hotels in Macon-Bibb are at capacity already. They’re keeping track of our local hotels and will inform people who call if any rooms open. Wheat also says people can visit to keep track of where in the state places have open hotel rooms for evacuees. To reach the CVB, visit

Fire Chief Marvin Riggins, Sheriff David Davis, and others spoke to encourage everyone in Macon-Bibb to keep their hearts and minds open for people who are coming here as evacuees.