As of an assessment Saturday, "326 homes have some type of structure damage, 49 homes are completely destroyed and 20 injuries directly related to the storm have been reported," Bartow County Fire Chief Craig Millsap stated.
Anyone needing immediate housing assistance should contact the Red Cross at 706-844-2233. The organization will help individuals as they come forward.
Donations and Volunteering:
Donations of non-perishable foods and other items are welcomed by local churches and businesses that have established drop-off sites. See The Daily Tribune News on Monday for a detailed and updated list of locations and needed items.
At this point in time, Battalion Chief Bryan Cox said that local church leaders have been trained by the Bartow County Fire Department on how to operate as a command post and how to organize efforts to help those in need. Anyone wishing to help is encouraged to take items to designated drop-off locations or Grace Baptist Church.
Grace Baptist is serving as the central distribution location, which is where all donations are inventoried and taken to three churches where those in need can retrieve those necessities. People affected by the storm can pick up non-perishable food, clothing and toiletries at:
* Graceland, 17 Cedar Creek Road, Cartersville.
* Cedar Creek Baptist, 54 Folsom Road, Adairsville.
* Crowe Springs Baptist, 290 Crowe Springs Road.
Volunteers also are encouraged to contact United Way (770-386-1677) and the Emergency Management Agency (770-387-5089). All donations from food to money and time are welcome. As of Saturday afternoon, there have been no donations of baby food or formula, a staple that is needed. Also critically needed are work gloves, large trash bags, laundry detergent, diapers (all sizes), peanut butter, jelly, toilet tissue, paper towels and shaving cream. Hygiene items are also willingly accepted along with non-perishables like cookies and crackers. Clothing can be donated at the STARS Pre-K behind the bus barn on Fire Tower Road. Bartow Animal Control is collecting pet food donations.
As with any and every emergency situation, all workers and volunteers assisting with clean-up efforts are urged to follow safety protocol.
Due to downed trees and brush in the roadways, many people are using ATVs to reach anyone needing help. Safety precautions must be followed at all times with these types of vehicles. Although room is needed to haul loads of goods to distressed locations and people, riding alone should be avoided. Also, always let someone know where your destination will be and an approximate time that you will arrive back to your starting point.
Other ATV rules include wearing the right clothing and shoes that will prevent scrapes and injury as well as a helmet. All-terrain vehicles are not designed for paved roadways, so riders should be familiar with the land they are driving over and look for downed power lines, fences, low-lying branches and other hazards. With a lot of the destruction being in open areas where livestock is kept, these animals should be approached slowly; startled animals could run directly into your path.
OSHA (the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration) also warns of safety precautions. Clean-up efforts involve a number of hazardous situations varying from electrical restoration to the use of heavy machinery such as cranes and skid loaders. Protective measures that OSHA recommends maintaining are: using personal protective equipment, assuming all power lines are live, following proper hygiene procedures and using portable generators, saws, ladders, vehicles and other equipment correctly. Details on safety procedures can be found at www.osha.gov/OshDoc/flood-tornado-recovery.html.
Concerning generators, specific rules should be followed to prevent exposure and illness from carbon monoxide. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns residents to never use generators indoors or outside areas near doors, windows or vents that could allow CO to enter a home. Also, generators should only be used in dry areas; wait for rain to pass as generators are not weatherproof and can cause electrocution and shock when wet. Generators should not be directly connected to a home's electrical system through an outlet as this poses a fire hazard and electrocution hazards to utility workers. For more information, see the CPSC website at www.cpsc.gov/info/co/index.html.
Following President Obama's tour of damaged areas in the South, Gov. Deal announced that a federal disaster declaration for the 16 counties devastated by the storms and tornadoes has been approved. Locally, this means that Bartow County is eligible to receive individual assistance and local governments and certain private non-profit organizations in the county are able to receive federal funds to help offset 75 percent of the cost of debris removal and emergency protective measures.
According to Deal's news release, this declaration also makes all affected counties eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, providing assistance to state and local governments for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.
GEMA (the Georgia Emergency Management Agency) will continue additional assessments in additional counties as information on local damage reports are available. More counties outside the hardest hit 16 may be made eligible after evaluation.
Throughout Bartow, Georgia Power and teams of electrical crews have worked endlessly to restore electricity to residents. Thursday morning 3,300 people were without power. As of Saturday at 8 a.m., that number had dropped to 820 with more than 100 trucks working in the Crowe Springs area.
While working at Grace Baptist with organization efforts, Associational Missionary for the Bartow Baptist Association David Franklin said that "people need to know this is not a sprint, it's a marathon. This will take months to do and we need to think long-term."
The Daily Tribune News will be working with WBHF and Cartersville Uncut in hosting a radio-thon Wednesday, from 7 to 10 a.m. live on 1450AM radio for local storm victims. Donations of cash, non-perishable items such as toiletries, sanitizing/baby wipes, water and packing boxes can be dropped off at the radio station or the newspaper office (251 S. Tennessee St., Cartersville). All donations collected will be taken to the United Way office for distribution through the United Way, Salvation Army and Red Cross.