The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency coordinates the state’s preparedness, response and recovery efforts to disasters. As part of the Office of the Governor, GEMA/HS operates under the authority of the Emergency Management Act of 1981. GEMA/HS works with local, state and federal governments, in partnership with the private sector and faith-based community, to prevent and respond to natural and man-made emergencies. In addition, GEMA/HS employees are on 24-hour call statewide to assist local authorities when disaster strikes.
The mission of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency is the protection of life and property against man-made and natural disasters by directing the state’s efforts in the areas of prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery.
The vision of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency is to create a safer Georgia by providing strong leadership and promoting coordination and communication with all our partners.
Planning, preparation and training are essential when dealing with different types of disasters. GEMA/HS develops and maintains a comprehensive state emergency plan to ensure mitigation and preparedness, appropriate response and timely recovery from natural and man-made hazards which may affect residents of Georgia. All actions undertaken by emergency management focus on the protection of lives and property, with special sensitivity toward victims and their families. GEMA/HS encourages education and training to prepare the citizens of Georgia to respond to an emergency or disaster in the most cost-efficient manner.
Hazard Mitigation is defined as "any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from hazard events." It is a continuous process that occurs before, during and after disasters and serves to break the cycle of damage and repair in hazardous areas. The Hazard Mitigation Division assists in the development of comprehensive hazard mitigation plans and projects to protect people and property from exposure to natural hazards.
When disaster strikes and local governments need assistance, they call GEMA/HS. The agency works with local, state, federal, volunteer and private agencies to respond to disasters or emergencies that require a coordinated response.
The agency's Public Assistance Division is responsible for administering the millions of federal dollars that communities are eligible for in the wake of disasters. The division works closely with local governments to ensure that reconstruction and rebuilding programs are completed to reduce the risk of further losses.
In a continuous effort to effectively mitigate emergencies and be better prepared, GEMA/HS offers training courses at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, GEMA/HS headquarters in Atlanta, or in local communities. Instructors are from internal and external agencies.
The External Affairs Office is the principal point of contact for GEMA/HS with the news media. Actual and potential disaster situations compel our public affairs officers to provide accurate and timely information to the citizens of Georgia.