Sen. Harbison Urges Congressional Delegation to Fund Statewide First Responder System

ATLANTA (Feb. 26, 2009) – State Sen. Ed Harbison (D-Columbus) is requesting that the Georgia Congressional Delegation use a portion of the funds from President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill to assist with the creation and operation of a statewide first responder building mapping information system. The statewide system was established through Senate Bill 33, which passed in the Georgia General Assembly in 2008. Through the implementation of the system, state and local governments would be better prepared to respond to disasters, criminal behavior and acts of terrorism.

“There is always a significant amount of danger present when first responders such as our police officers and firefighters have to evacuate or secure a building,” said Sen. Harbison. “It is vital that we fully fund the building mapping information system to provide first responders with information they need to be successful when disaster strikes.”

Building mapping provides electronic blueprints of a building describing every room, along with its dimensions. The maps are designed to give an emergency responder as much information about the physical structure of the building as possible. Building map information can include floor plans, fire protection information, evacuation plans, utility information, known hazards and images showing emergency personnel contact information.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has allocated an estimated $50 million to aid Georgia with State and Local Emergency Assistance Programs, Aviation Security Funds and Emergency Food and Shelter for the Homeless.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) would be responsible for the creation and operation of the statewide building mapping information system. Once the system is operational, GEMA will make the information available electronically to all state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, public fire departments, and the Georgia Department of Defense. Any private entity, federal agency, or state and local governments electing to participate in the building mapping information system will forward their data to GEMA.

For more information on Senate Bill 33, please visit

Sen. Ed Harbison serves as Chairman of the Interstate Cooperation Committee. He represents the 15th Senate District, which includes Chattahoochee County and a portion of Muscogee County. He may be reached at 404.656.0074 or via e-mail at

For Immediate Release:
February 26, 2009
For Information Contact:
Raegan Weber, Director
Ravae Graham, Communications Specialist