City of Augusta and local hospitals prepare for winter weather

News 12 First at Five and News 12 NBC 26 @ 6:00 / Friday, Jan. 6, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Whether it's snow or just some cold rain, the city of Augusta is prepared for whatever weather comes our way.

"All of the city and its functions are prepared and ready to assist with the citizens and their lives over the next few days," Chief Chris James said.

Chief James said their biggest concern at this time is black ice on the roads. That means the engineering department is on standby, ready to put salt and sand on problem areas, and put up barricades.

"Some of the salt and sand will start as early as 4 o'clock in the morning tomorrow," he said.

Fire crews also have equipment like saws and chains ready to go just in case.

The Richmond County Sheriffs Office is also ready. Deputies' off days are cut down over the weekend, and everyone is supposed to be ready to go.

"That means whenever they are off their expected for their vehicles to be topped off with gas and have all of their foul weather gear," Captain Gerald Metzler said.

And in case things get bad, their humvees are also gassed up and ready to get people to work, especially jail employees.

"In some cases depending on how busy we are and things like that we are prepared to get medical personnel if we need to," he said.

The sheriff's office has been coordinating with the state as well. They are also prepared to help Georgia Power in case of any outages.

Local hospitals also prepared for whatever comes this way.

"If you don't have a way to get here then we will go get you so that you can take care of the community and help the patients in the hospital," Chief of Operations Chris Cosby said.

They also are fully stocked on food, supplies, and gas for generators. All areas of the city, preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best.

Cosby said they will be taking and discharging patients as they normally do.

Augusta's 311 Center is also staffed and operational this weekend should anyone have any problems.

The city will open up May Park Saturday and Sunday to help anyone who might not have a warm place to stay. They are also working with the Salvation Army, Garden City Ministries, and Augusta Ministries.

Chief James also asks people to think of their pets and give them a warm place to stay. There is very limited space in the Augusta Animal Shelter at this time.

Crews also remind people to turn off their sprinkler systems in order to make sure the streets do not get slick or icy in those areas.

Chief James also stresses for people to try and stay off the roads if at all possible. It's also important to be prepared with a three day supply of food and medications just to be safe. If anyone has to go to the shelters, officials remind you to bring your medications with you.

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