Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Georgia Officials Recall Olympic Cautions Atlanta '96 Prepared Georgia for Attacks

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Georgia Officials Recall Olympic Cautions Atlanta '96 Prepared Georgia for Attacks

Article excerpt

Byline: Walter C. Jones, Times-Union staff writer

ATLANTA -- Georgia emergency officials learning of yesterday's terrorist attacks may have felt a twinge of deja vu as they recalled training in preparation for 1996's Olympic Games.

That training, and similar efforts on a smaller scale for the 1988 Democratic National Convention held in Atlanta, have made Georgia law enforcement and rescue teams some of the most prepared in the country for terrorist attacks. Evacuations for Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and last year's Y2K computer scare leading up to New Year's 2000 helped hone the edge.

"We're prepared for a terrorist attack to the best degree we can be," said Kathy Huggins, spokeswoman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

The agency, which coordinates with other state and local organizations, had already planned drills later this week on terrorism and a mock plane crash.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which also gained valuable anti-terrorism experience in the wake of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing, was on standby yesterday morning to respond to any incidents in Georgia or help outside the state.

"Obviously, the events of today have been devastating," said GBI spokeswoman Vicki Metz. "The GBI has agents assigned to a joint terrorism task force, and if anything would arise here in Georgia, we would work with the federal and other state agencies and provide our experience and expertise. …

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