ROBERTSDALE, Ala. (WKRG) — With the population continuing to grow in Baldwin County, the Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency is working to update its hurricane evacuation plan.
For the past year, Baldwin County EMA has partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers to come up with a new plan of evacuation. Evacuation plans are updated every 10 years and it takes almost a full year to create a brand-new plan.
Baldwin County EMA explained that since Baldwin County is growing rapidly, this new plan will have many changes. One part of the county evacuation plan being considered would be to put areas along some of the local rivers in a higher-risk evacuation zone. Some areas along Fish, Perdido, Magnolia and Styx rivers have flooded during heavy rains in past hurricanes.
Jessica Waters, the Information Officer and Communications Specialist for Baldwin County EMA, said there will be a few major changes to the newly updated evacuation plan.
“So, one change that I think will be implemented is adding out major rivers and waterways to certain zone areas,” said Waters. “One thing we have determined after the past five years is we don’t necessarily look at the category of the storm, we look at the impacts of the area and we notice that when certain zones are impacted, so are the waterways.”
The new hurricane evacuation plan consists of a major study conducted by FEMA, U.S. Army Corps along with Baldwin County EMA. The important point of the study is to create a plan of evacuation to accommodate everyone that lives in Baldwin County.
The Baldwin County EMA explained that with the way the new plan is looking as of now, it is not a good reflection of the numbers that we have actually in our county. The EMA encourages all Baldwin County residents to have a set plan.
Tom Tyler is the Baldwin County EMA deputy and wants Baldwin County to know that the most important evacuation element is to always have a plan even though there is an evacuation plan and route for the county.
“Much of our traffic is going to be wanting to go north and through Baldwin County that means there is just a few roads going north to south to get us to I-65,” said Tyler. “And so planning ahead and having a plan and a family communication plan to discuss all those things before they occur is very a very important thing.”
This plan is still in the process of becoming official and according to the Baldwin County EMA, they are hopeful that it will be complete by the beginning of next year.