FEMA opens 24-hour command center for Michael

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Critical resources to save lives are on the move in Georgia in response to Michael, which made its landfall as a Category 4 hurricane Wednesday afternoon.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is working around the clock at its command center in DeKalb County.

Workers have been ready to send resources to the people who need them most.

Michael has since weakened to a tropical storm.

[THE LATEST: 11-year-old Georgia's first death from Michael]

FEMA leaders gave Channel 2 Action News access inside the agency's response center in DeKalb County on Tuesday.

The agency was keeping track of Hurricane Michael, that slammed parts of the Gulf Coast and south Georgia Wednesday.

“The difference between this storm, Michael, and Florence is that Michael is going to hit with a large punch,” Glen Sachtleben, FEMA response division director, said before the storm made landfall.


The fast-moving storm made landfall on the Florida Panhandle and FEMA said it is ready to respond and deliver the resources needed.

“If the states feel they’ve got a need for commodities, or capabilities such as food, water, blankets, for capabilities swift water rescue, medical teams,” Sachtleben said.

Inside FEMA’s Region 4 office, every minute was critical to have resources in place before the storm made landfall.

“Because it’s moving fast, that does not give us a lot of response time, but that’s why we’re building our capabilities right now, so that if we need something rapidly it’s already ready to go,” Sachtleben said Tuesday.

FEMA said it was best for everyone to evacuate ahead of Michael, but if you chose to ride out the storm, you were putting your life in danger.

“We really encourage everyone that’s in this storm’s path to be ready. Get ready while you still have the time,” Sachtleben said.

It was President Jimmy Carter who created FEMA by executive order in 1979.