A month after a deadly tornado hit downtown Adairsville, the city is steadily recovering, thanks to the efforts of many organizations.
“We’ve make a lot of progress in a very short amount of time,” said City Manager Pat Crook.
The tornado that hit the city on the afternoon of January 30 was an EF3, making it one of the strongest to touch down in Georgia in January. It was estimated to be about a quarter of a mile wide and was on the ground for roughly two minutes.
Crook said the immediate support the city received from surrounding governments helped keep residents and businesses from being victimized by looters or unscrupulous contractors. “We had every cop in north Georgia here right away,” she said. “Deputies came from all over; everyone sent what they could to help. We had such a police presence the first three days, it sent out the message to stay away.”
To ensure that homeowners and businesses impacted by the storm weren’t taken advantage of by rouge contractors, the city set up a registration area by Interstate 75, where contractors had to provide a valid business license and valid references. Crook said about half the contractors who applied were approved and given a red certificate that indicated they were permitted to provide services to the area.
Another factor in the city’s recovery has been the support of numerous volunteer groups. “Well-organized volunteer group should be plugged into the equation - make them a part of the team,” Crook advises. “Their efforts should be an extension of the local government's efforts.”
Many Georgia cities also provided support through donations of goods they collected within their communities and through mutual aid. Crook said other cities that find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to recover from a natural disaster should work closely with their neighbors.
“Maintaining good relationships with neighboring communities and keeping open regular lines of communication is critical,” she said. “Know what resources are out there - from other local governments, agencies and the private sector. Never be too proud to ask for or to accept help.”