Bartow County Emergency Management Agency, working with nonprofits such as United Way and The Salvation Army, began coordinating with the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office, Cartersville Police Department, both fire departments and the Bartow County Parks and Recreation Department to organize a temporary shelter for those in need of a warm place to sleep.
EMA Director Paul Cuprowski said the various agencies began discussing the need for a shelter early Monday and had plans in place by the afternoon.
“We’re going to have a shuttle bus from 3 or 4 p.m. this afternoon until midnight. It will be equipped with a sheriff’s deputy, and the sheriff’s department and Carterville PD and Bartow County [Emergency Medical Services] will go out visiting the homeless handing out this flying,” Cuprowski said. “And all they have to do is call 911, tell us where they are, [and] we’ll pick them up.”
The shelter, located in the Houston Suggs Youth Recreation Facility at 35 Beavers Drive, Cartersville, is slated to operate until noon Wednesday.
“We’re going to open it to anybody who needs to get out of the weather and stay warm. If they have insufficient heat at their house and/or no heat at their house, they’re welcome to come. There will be no shower facilities, and depending on how many people that we have is depending on what we do about food. Right now it’s just going to be store-bought, prepackaged,” he said.
Any animals will be boarded at the Bartow County Animal Shelter for no cost.
Cuprowski emphasized that EMA could not accept any form of donations, whether it was food or warm clothing. However, he said the United Way would accept monetary donations.
On a larger scale, the Red Cross stated in a press release it was operating 19 shelters in Indiana, Ohio and Massachusetts due to the cold weather. The organization also assisted residents in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Closer to home, local governments reacted to the cold weather by canceling scheduled meetings. Kingston, White and Taylorsville canceled their city council meetings. Cartersville and Bartow County school systems canceled classes today as well, further lengthening students’ holiday vacation.
Georgia Power issued a press release Monday afternoon, stating the company brought additional generators online to “ensure adequate and reliable supplies of electricity.” The company plans to keep crews and engineering teams on call in case heavy loads cause isolated outages.
To report any new outages, Georgia Power asked customers to visit www.georgiapower.com/storms. Customers can also call 1-888-891-0938 to report an outage or check an outage’s status.