'Teamwork' credited for storm response

Teamwork is what James Brown and Dean Blair credit for the outstanding emergency response to the severe storms that swept through Coffee County Saturday, April 24.

Brown is the Coffee County Emergency Management Agency Director. Blair is the Coffee County E911 Director. Both men gave an update about activities during the Saturday storm to those attending the Coffee County Commission meeting April 26.

Coffee County Commissioner Josh Carnley thanked Brown for the timely reports from the EMA office as the severe weather approached. “Your time line was spot on,” Carnley said. “The storm came through right about the time you predicted it would.”

“It was quite a day all day Saturday,” Brown said, adding that there were reports of two possible tornados in Coffee County, both occurring in wooded areas.

Brown said there were reports of hail damage to homes and property, 36 trees down on 29 different roads and four reports of downed power lines on roads. ‘We had two traffic accidents directly related to the weather and two fires that we think were caused by lightning,” he said. We had one law enforcement vehicle that was damaged on County Road 617.

“It was a busy weekend but we’re happy that we made it through with no reports of injuries,” Brown said. thanking all the county departments and volunteer first responders in the county. “Without all the departments and volunteers we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”

Blair echoed Brown’s appreciation of the first responders and county departments that joined forces over the weekend. “We have such great teamwork with everybody working together,” Blair said. “And from our dispatchers’ standpoint, the response is great.”

“Keep those folks in your prayers,” Carnley told those attending the commission meeting. “Remember those that serve.”

Coffee County Engineer Marty Lentz said that the county engineering department responded to 26 different road ways during the weekend, primarily with reports of trees down in the road due to the storm. “We didn’t experience any flooding but we did have several trees down pretty much countywide and not a particular area due to high sustained winds,” Lentz said. “This week we’re going around and picking them up.”

In unrelated business, Brown said that the number of positive COVID pandemic cases reported in Coffee County keeps reducing. “We’re looking good right now. Hopefully we missed any kind of ‘bump’ from Spring break,” he said.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine, taken off the distribution market temporarily, is “back in service,” Brown added.

The next meeting of the Coffee County Commission is at 9 a.m. Monday, May 10, in the Government Complex Building in New Brockton. The meeting is open to the public.

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