Other than a few downed trees and power lines, it appears Forsyth County was relatively unscathed by the tornado-packing storms that ripped across Alabama and Georgia on Wednesday.
Forsyth County Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said the county’s Emergency Operation Center was elevated to a level 2 status about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
That meant the center was operated by a skeleton crew that Shivers said consisted of Fire Chief and Emergency Management Agency Director Danny Bowman, a few fire command staff members and representatives from the sheriff’s office and 911 Center.
“As it was, all those efforts were essentially a drill,” Shivers said. “There was no critical need here in Forsyth County, fortunately.”
The center’s status returned to level 1 at 2:45 a.m. Thursday.
Shivers said storms, some of which spawned tornadoes, appeared to have hit areas north and south of Forsyth County.
As part of a Georgia Emergency Management Agency incident team, six local fire department employees and a brush truck were sent to Catoosa County in the state's northwest corner.
At least seven people died in Ringgold, the county seat, when a massive tornado touched down Wednesday night, leaving a swath of destruction in its wake.
Shivers said the request was for help in urban search and rescue. The local team will stay as long as needed in the effort, which also involves other agencies from across north Georgia.
“That’s part of our philosophy, that when one fire department has a problem we all have a problem,” he said. “And that’s part of our commitment to being a part of the Georgia Mutual Aid Group.”
At least 13 deaths as a result of Wednesday’s storms in Georgia have been reported.
Storms and tornadoes that caused widespread destruction in Alabama have reportedly claimed at least 131 lives.