Utility companies work to restore power to Fannin County residents

Community, News
Blue Ridge, Mineral Bluff, Morganton, McCaysville, Georgia, Fannin County, Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation, BRMEMC, Tri-State Electric, Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, EMC, Robert Graham, Winter Storm Benji, Snow, David Lewis

Crews immediately on the scene after Friday’s snow. Photo courtesy of BRMEMC.

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County was not spared the effects of Winter Storm Benji as the storm made its way northeast across the United States. Nationally, this winter storm was noted for record amounts of snowfall in many areas, and estimates have come in that as many as 300,000 homes and businesses lost power nationwide.

Many residents in Fannin County are entering their third day without power due to Winter Storm Benji, and crews with local power companies have been working around the clock to restore power to these citizens.

Fannin County reached the height of power outages on Saturday, Dec. 9. Tri-State Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) reported between 1,000 to 1,200 members affected. Tri-State EMC has approximately 19,000 meters in their service area. Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation (BRMEMC) services approximately 49,000 meters and reported roughly 14,000 members affected by outages.

Many residents, like Robert Moe, of Blue Ridge, were prepared. Moe stated, “We lost power about 3:30 a.m. Saturday. We put in a back-up generator three years ago. Great decision. Hope to have power back before our propane tank runs out.”

“If we run out of propane, we have kerosene and propane heaters,” Moe discussed of his preparedness. “You have to prepare in advance and not wait until you have problems to try to find answers.”

Lulu Lewis, a Morganton resident, has been without power since approximately 11 a.m. Friday morning. Lewis explained how her household is making it through: ” We have a generator for lights, water, TV, refrigerator and freezer. For heat, we have a wood cooking stove.”

Although the past few days have been difficult without power, some residents have not lost their sense of humor. Ken Burdette, of Blue Ridge, describes losing power twice: “Lost power Friday … came back on around midnight. Heard the power guys holler, ‘Just drag it off.’ Power went off again around 9 a.m. Saturday morning and has been dark ever since.”

Blue Ridge, Mineral Bluff, Morganton, McCaysville, Georgia, Fannin County, Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation, BRMEMC, Tri-State Electric, Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, EMC, Robert Graham, Winter Storm Benji, Snow, David Lewis

Broken power poles and downed lines as a result of Winter Storm Benji. Photo courtesy of BRMEMC.

Burdette says it’s not all bad, and that he’s “rather enjoying candle light dinners with Vienna sausage and cold red wine.” He does admit though, “The hot tub has lost its appeal.”

David Lewis, IT Manager with Tri-State EMC, spoke of the difficulties in dealing with power outages of this nature: “With these outages, it’s a little different than outages because of wind or tornadoes. It was a lot more sporadic.”

Lewis spoke of the causes saying, “It’s mainly from downed trees, pines.” He explained that snow of this nature is very heavy. The weight of the snow can cause downed lines, but trees breaking under the snow’s weight is the main source for the outages.

He talked of crews working around the clock to restore power: “Not only is there a threat from the downed lines, but you also have to deal with snow and ice in reaching some of these areas, and some of these areas can be pretty remote. It’s a pretty dangerous situation.”

As of 12:20 a.m. Monday, Dec. 11, BRMEMC reported that 2,455 members were currently without power and stated via Facebook, “Crews are still working to restore all power and will not stop until all power is back on.”

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency Director Robert Graham stated that there are no shelters open in Fannin County at this time. A temporary shelter was opened in Union County for residents without power or heat.

With another arctic blast headed our way on Tuesday, Dec. 12, and temperatures expected to dip into the teens, residents are hoping that power can be restored to all of Fannin County before the freezing temperatures hit.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Winter Storm Benji impacts Fannin County

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Snow continues to fall on Fannin County as Winter Storm Benji makes its way out of our region. Residents around the county have reported anywhere from five to eight inches of snow, some reporting more in localized areas.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Mineral Bluff, Morgaton, McCaysville, Georgia, Winter Storm, Winter Weather, Snow, Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, EMA, Robert Graham, Lakewood Hwy, GA 60, GA 515, Glenda Higdon, Public Works, Zack Ratcliff, Fire Department, Larry Thomas

Roadways quickly became hazardous early this afternoon. Photo courtesy of Malinda Williams Bakara.

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Robert Graham says that we are in for more snowfall through the evening hours. Graham stated, “Forecasts are showing an additional one to three inches for our area.”

Power outages have been reported throughout the county today, and crews are working on restoring power to those without. Graham stated of the outages, “Several are out on the eastern side of our county, and up in the Dial area.”

Going into the night power outages and refreezing of roadways are of major concern. The roads cleared some today as temperatures slowly crept above freezing, but without wind or the sun to dry the roadways the water left behind is likely to turn into ice.

Director of Public Works Zack Ratcliff released a statement that he is expecting conditions to worsen as a significant refreeze with black ice will likely occur after dark as temperatures begin to fall into the 20s.

Ratcliff has six trucks dispatched throughout the county putting down salt and gravel mix to treat the roads, and three motor graders have been out working in locations such as Aska Road, Old Hwy. 76, and the Mobile and Madola roads area.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Mineral Bluff, Morgaton, McCaysville, Georgia, Winter Storm, Winter Weather, Snow, Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, EMA, Robert Graham, Lakewood Hwy, GA 60, GA 515, Glenda Higdon, Public Works, Zack Ratcliff, Fire Department, Larry Thomas

Five to eight inches of snow are being reported across the county. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Ponton.

EMA Director Robert Graham is now urging residents, “Please stay off the roads tonight, unless you absolutely need to get out. Try to stay put in the morning as well. After about 10 or 11 a.m. tomorrow, we hope the temperatures will get back up and melt some of this off.”

Fannin County Fire and Rescue Chief and EMA Deputy Director Larry Thomas spoke with FetchYourNews about area roadways and conditions. Thomas confirmed that his department has already responded to several calls today. Many of these calls involved stranded motorists and residents.

While some could not avoid getting out today, many citizens chose to prepare and stay indoors. Fannin County resident Glenda Higdon spoke of her preparation, “So far so good here. We are gathering water, charging phones and phone banks, brought in another load of wood and cooking food up. We have a wood heater, heat pumps and a generator.”

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Mineral Bluff, Morgaton, McCaysville, Georgia, Winter Storm, Winter Weather, Snow, Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, EMA, Robert Graham, Lakewood Hwy, GA 60, GA 515, Glenda Higdon, Public Works, Zack Ratcliff, Fire Department, Larry Thomas

Glenda Higdons shared this photo of snowfall on her property.

Higdon added with a smile, “We also have a bobcat, tractor, battery chargers, as well! My hubby is a Vietnam Veteran and is not about to get stuck anywhere!”

“We’re both locals so when the blizzard came in 1993, (we) learned a lot about being prepared then (the hard way),” Higdon explained.

Whether prepared or not Winter Storm Benji has left its mark on the north Georgia mountains, and its effects will continue to be experienced in our area for the next couple of days.

Follow FetchYourNews for the latest information about Winter Storm Benji in our area.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Weather conditions worsen in Fannin County

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News
Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Mineral Bluff, Morgaton, McCaysville, Georgia, Winter Storm, Winter Weather, Snow, Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, EMA, Robert Graham, Lakewood Hwy, GA 60, GA 515

Five to seven inches of snow have been reported county wide.

BLUE RIDGE, GA – Conditions worsened quickly as Winter Storm Benji moved into the area this morning. With initial weather forecasts varying on the predicted amount of snowfall, many residents have expressed that they were not expecting the weather Fannin County is currently experiencing.

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Robert Graham confirmed of the roadways, “They’ve really deteriorated. A lot of the side roads are really, really hazardous. Aska, up that way, is really bad.”

The Fannin County EMA sent out an alert at 12:16 p.m. warning travelers:

“Lakewood Hwy (GA 60) between Mineral Bluff and GA 515 is closed due to accidents and stranded motorists.

Lakewood Hwy (GA 60) between Mineral Bluff and GA 515 is temporarily closed due to accidents and stranded motorists. This section of roadway is impassible due to snow and ice.”

Graham stated that so far the eastern side of the county is experiencing more hazardous conditions than the western side, but added that these conditions could change at any time. Graham reiterated, “I recommend staying in unless you have to get out.”

Reports are starting to come in of power outages in Fannin County due to the weather, and Fannin County EMA has also received a report of a tree down on Mobile Road.

Be sure to follow FetchYourNews for the latest updates on this winter storm.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Fannin County under Winter Storm Warning

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County residents woke up to the first snow of the season. The county along with surrounding counties in north Georgia was issued a Winter Storm Warning by the National Weather Service in the early afternoon of Dec. 7.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Morganton, McCaysville, Mineral Bluff, Georgia, Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, Director, Robert Graham, EMA, Snow, Winter Weather Advisory, Winter Storm Warning

Snow falls in downtown Blue Ridge early Friday morning.

This warning warning called for up to one inch of snow and was effective through Saturday, Dec. 9, at 7 a.m. Forecast models varied greatly on this winter weather, some calling for only a half-inch on grassy surfaces and others stating to expect up to five inches of snow.

Fannin County School Systems canceled school on Friday, and the Fannin County Courthouse will close early at noon.

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Robert Graham spoke with FetchYourNews on current road conditions and what to expect overnight.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Morganton, McCaysville, Mineral Bluff, Georgia, Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, Director, Robert Graham, EMA, Snow, Winter Weather Advisory, Winter Storm Warning

Snow continues to fall downtown.

As of 10 a.m., Graham reported that most roads in our county were still in good condition and no major problems had been reported to his team. “We are starting to experience the roads becoming covered and there are patchy areas. Aska, out toward Dial, and Hwy. 60 as you go out to Suches has some tricky areas,” Graham said, speaking of current road conditions.

“I would recommend not getting out unless you have to,” the EMA Director answered when asked about the safety of the roads through the afternoon.

With temperatures expected to drop well below freezing tonight, Graham cautioned about roadways freezing overnight and into early tomorrow morning. “If you need supplies, the earlier you can get them, the better. We could see more snow, and with all this precipitation, we could see some black ice,” Graham stated.

Graham recommended avoiding travel tonight as there is still uncertainty about what this winter storm could bring.

Fannin County remains under a Winter Storm Warning until 7 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9.

Fannin County EMA latest weather update via Nixle:

Winter Storm Warning until 07:00AM Saturday

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 5 AM FRIDAY TO 7 AM EST SATURDAY…

* WHAT…Periods of snow expected. Plan on difficult travel conditions, including during the morning commute on Friday. Total snow accumulations of one to two inches are expected with higher elevations above 1500 feet potentially receiving up to three inches.

* WHERE…Generally north and east of a line from Ellijay to Dawsonville to Dahlonega to Cleveland in northeast Georgia.

* WHEN…From 5 AM Friday to 7 AM EST Saturday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Slick and dangerous road conditions are possible, especially in higher elevations and on elevated bridges and overpasses.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A Winter Storm Warning for snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can be obtained by calling 5 1 1.

* AFFECTED AREAS: DAWSON … FANNIN … GILMER … LUMPKIN … TOWNS … UNION … WHITE

Follow FetchYourNews.com for the latest updates on this winter weather system.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

EMA/ EMS weekly report for November 26 thru December 2, 2017

Fannin County EMA/EMS

Fannin County EMA/EMS
Director Robert Graham
181 Church St.
Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513
706-632-1958
Fax 706-632-8003

 

November 26, 2017 thru December 2, 2017

 

M1: 45

M3: 26

M4: 31

M5: 1

M11: 41

 

Total: 144

 

Mutual Aid: 0

 

Law: 419

Fire: 11

Rescue: 37

 

Total Emergency Calls: 545

 

Total Calls: 1628

Fannin County Legislation Amended

News
Fannin Court House

BLUE RIDGE, GA – After two public readings, the Fannin County Board of Commissioners signed an amendment to local legislation.
The first piece of legislation to be amended will allow the county the option to sell equipment online or at live auctions.

County Chairman Stan Helton explained, “We can sell property online in a competitive auction, which is what is being done more in the marketplace today.”

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson

Commissioners sign legislation change.

Helton clarified that, “It just gives us that option. It doesn’t mean we have to do it.”

The second piece of legislation amended regards the county budget. As it stood, the Board of Commissioners must vote to pass next year’s budget at the first public meeting held in December.

The recently signed amendment gives commissioners the option of passing the yearly budget before the set December date.

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Robert Graham was present at the meeting to share that his department, with the help from his Deputy Director, had been awarded a grant from Homeland Security.

The grant, in the amount of $37,750.00, will be used to purchase equipment for the mobile command unit.

Post 2 Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee questioned, “Will this amount of money take care of what you need for your mobile unit? Will it supply it entirely?”

Graham confirmed that when applying for the grant, a list of equipment had been given, and that the grant will fully fund that list. Graham was pleased that Fannin County had been awarded the grant and stated, “They’re (Homeland Security Grants) hard to come by.”

Along with the good news of being awarded a homeland security grant, Graham also shared that Whitfield County had donated equipment to Fannin County.

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, EMA Director, Robert Graham, Larry Joe Sosebee

EMA Director Robert Graham discusses Homeland Security Grant.

Whitfield recently changed the frequency in which they operate. This change made much of their equipment obsolete. Among the equipment received from Whitfield County was numerous mobile radios, three repeaters, and 39 portable radios.

Graham stated that the equipment donated was “in excess of $20,000 to $25,000” in value.

Chief Land Development Officer Marie Woody gave Commissioners an update on the Scrap Tire Removal Program. The program has been successful, and Woody stated, “We have collected 1,736 scrap tires to this point. The funds are there to extend this program.”

Commissioners voted unanimously to extend the collection program through the month of November and is now allowing for the collection of tractor and large truck tires.

The Board of Commissioners will hold their next public meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.

You can read more about the Scrap Tire Program extension at “Scrap Tire Removal Program Continues in Fannin County“.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Fannin County EMA Prepares For Future Demand

Fannin County EMA/EMS
Fannin County EMA/EMS

BLUE RIDGE, GA – Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Robert Graham is preparing for the future with new equipment and equipment upgrades.

As Fannin County grows so do the issues that our emergency crews face. Call volumes for emergency responses have been steadily increasing, and with Copper Basin Medical Center limiting their hours of operation, there is expected to be even more calls.

Graham is preparing for this by updating our existing ambulances and securing new ones.

On September 21, 2017 Fannin County EMA teams welcomed the newest member to their vehicle fleet. This new ambulance will allow room for our EMTs to cover increasing call volume.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Finance Director Robin Gazaway, EMA, Emergency Management Agency, Robert Graham, Larry Joe Sosebee, Copper Basin Medical Center, Fannin Regional Hospital

A new ambulance arrived to Fannin County. Graham hopes this will help with increase demand.

Graham announced at the Fannin County Budget Workshop that Copper Basin Medical Center will be closing their Emergency Room and operating on limited hours as a walk-in clinic. This will add strain on our Fannin County team.

This new policy at Copper Basin Medical Center went into effect on September 30. Patients being transported from Polk County to Fannin Regional Hospital will have to rely on Fannin County ambulances for a return trip.

Graham said, “The ambulance service that is in Polk County is privately owned and they are refusing to pick up patients at Fannin and transfer them back to Polk County.”

He did confirm that in the event of an emergency in Fannin County, Polk County ambulances were still on call and willing to help.
At the September 26 Board of Commissioner’s meeting a request was made for the purchase of a new command vehicle. The price on this vehicle is $27, 069.58.

Post Two Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee wanted clarification on where the money for this vehicle would come from. He asked, “Is that out of this year’s budget or next year’s?”

Finance Director Robin Gazaway confirmed that the purchase of the new command vehicle would come from the 2017 budget and that the department still had plenty of funds to cover the cost.

The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the purchase of this vehicle.

The EMA department’s 2018 budget proposal would cover the costs of one additional ambulance for the department as well as the remounting of a current ambulance box to a new chassis.

Graham said, “That will give us seven ambulances in our fleet, one of which we can keep in reserve through the state licensings. That will give us three spare engines.”

Graham stated that the additions to the fleet will help with increased call volume and free up engines to cover special events, such as games, races, and festivals.

 

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Fannin EMA/EMS Weekly Report: October 1 – October 7

Fannin County EMA/EMS
Fannin County EMA/EMS

Fannin County EMA/EMS
Director Robert Graham
181 Church St.
Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513
706-632- 1958
Fax 706-632- 8003

October 1, 2017 thru October 7, 2017
M1: 43
M3: 13
M4: 24
M11: 23
Total: 103
18 of these were Interfacility Transfers

Mutual Aid: 0
Law: 392
Fire: 5
R1: 18
R2: 11
R3: 0
R4: 4
R6: 2
R9: 1
R13: 1

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