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Friday February 12th, 2016 4:55AM

Hall Co. schools, emergency services team up for road conditions reporting

By B.J. Williams News Director
GAINESVILLE - Hall County Emergency Services and the Hall County School Board have combined efforts on a winter road conditions reporting project.

At Monday's school board work session, Executive Director of Technology for the Hall County School District Aaron Turpin said he and his staff designed a program using the tools in Google Drive and overlaying it on a Google map. First responders from the Hall County Sheriff's Office or the Hall County Fire Department can assess dangerous driving spots around the county and post near real-time information so school system leadership can make better decisions on whether school needs to be cancelled.

"We're starting off with our 60 most problematic roads and 25 most problematic bridges in the county to hopefully give us more data to make better decisions," said Turpin.

Hall County EMA Director and Fire Chief David Kimbrell also spoke to school board members about the effort, saying the collaboration will benefit both the county and the school system.

Kimbrell said the program was designed to rank the conditions of roads on a scale from 1 to 3, which should make communication more clear between first responders and school officials.

"We had to have some specific criteria because roads, to me, that have ice on them, I may not consider them slick. But, then, we have some people [who live here now] that might have grown up in south Florida, and you know, a six-inch patch of ice to them is slick," said Kimbrell.

He said emergency responders and school board officials started brainstorming ideas for more uniform communication separately, but ultimately came together to collaborate on the new system.

The idea came to fruition over a six-day time frame right after the January 28 snow event.

The county will have a chance to put the new program to the test this week as this latest winter storm bears down on north Georgia.


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