Some of Georgia’s state agencies are beginning to leverage mobile apps as a way for citizens to understand and have access to important information and initiatives. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Georgia 529, and the Department of Administrative Services have all developed their own respective mobile apps.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety recently launched its Drive Sober app. With this app, people incapable of driving because they have had too much to drink can instantly find nearby sober and safe driving options, such as a listing of all free taxi and other anti-DUI services. The app, available for download on both Apple and Android smartphones, provides listings of cab companies, tow companies and other organizations committed to keeping drunk drivers off the road.
GEMA partnered with the Department of Public Health (DPH) to create the Ready Georgia mobile app, which helps residents plan, prepare and stay informed for emergencies. The mobile app is particularly important for people wanting to receive news about changes in the weather, and it provides localized severe weather alerts from GEMA and DPH in the event of other emergencies, such as terrorist attacks, infectious diseases or biological threats.
Georgia 529 created a smartphone app that provides Georgia families with easy, anytime access to manage their college savings plans. The Path2College mobile app allows account holders of Georgia’s 529 college savings plan the opportunity to calculate their college savings needs and potential tax savings while on-the-go. The app keeps track of savings and spending, provides insight into effective preparation for rising college costs, and creates a plan that can help parents carefully manage their money until their child goes to college.
DOAS recently launched the Team Georgia Directory mobile app. This smartphone app is an index of more than 100 state agencies and executive offices, and puts the most up-to-date state contact information at your fingertips. It provides a range of information, including: facility locations, website addresses, and phone numbers and email addresses of 1,300 state leaders of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government.
When state agencies create mobile apps such as these and offer them free of charge, they allow customers easier and faster access to important services and products.
On Tuesday, Gov. Nathan Deal received the internal review and action plan he ordered from state agency heads involved in emergency response during the winter storm of Jan. 26-30.
“Our state experienced two severe winter storms in two weeks, events that tested the resilience and preparedness of all Georgians,” Deal said. “Following the first storm, I implemented immediate action items as well as initiated an internal review by state agency heads. The action items paid off. Our state for the second storm was more informed and prepared through the cellphones alerts, emails to school superintendents and consultations with local meteorologists. The safety of our citizens is of the utmost importance, and this report will play a key role in shaping the way our state government agencies prepare for and prevent dangerous winter weather situations.”
State agency heads from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation met to examine the events of the winter storm, which was found to be an extremely unusual circumstance based on data from the National Weather Service.
The report includes short- and long-term solutions, some of which have already been successfully implemented. These solutions include:
- Implement an immediate action plan, which would overhaul the “Ready Georgia” mobile application, trigger cellphone alerts in times of weather-related emergencies, establish a communications plan with school superintendents and create a weather advisory group with local meteorologists
- Change laws regarding commercial vehicles, establishing stricter enforcement and punishment of those found in violation of the current state law concerning tire chains and emergency equipment
- Create strike teams of seven vehicles placed in strategic locations to provide rapid response during weather emergencies
- Improve GDOT’s ability to respond to emergency weather situations through updated equipment, storage, supply needs and enhancements such as pavement sensors to monitor road conditions
- Promote operational and procedural enhancements with small incremental costs, including creating a Joint Information Center, coordinate communication with the trucking industry and the full utilization of electronic billboards on highways
In addition to its other duties, the Governor’s Severe Winter Weather Warning and Preparedness Task Force will review the report and make any further recommendations.
Full report here.
Georgia veterans with a household income of $58,000 or less can access free tax preparation on Tuesdays and Saturdays until April 12, 2014.
Tuesdays: 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Atlanta VA Medical Center, 1670 Clairmont Rd.
Decatur, GA 30033
East Point CBOC, 1701 Hardee Ave., SW
Atlanta, GA 30310
NOTE: Friends and family members of veterans who meet the household income guidelines can also take advantage of the free tax preparation.
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