First responders gearing up for Election Day in Guilford County

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Firefighters, EMS, police, election officials, and other community leaders from all over Guilford County are gearing up for Election Day.

On Nov. 3, they will be working together to make sure things run smoothly.

With everyone physically together, they can all work to resolve problems faster and more efficiently.

This year, they’ll be inside a room at the Greensboro Coliseum, to make sure people stay safe, and can easily get to a polling place to vote.

“We don’t know the future,” said Lt. Matt Truitt, with the High Point Police Department.

If 2020 has taught anyone anything, it’s that.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s always better to be prepared and have all of your resources ready to go, rather than having to scramble last minute,” explained Truitt. “We have planned as many avenues as possible.”

It’s something that High Point, Greensboro and Guilford County officials learned years ago.

For the past few elections, including the primaries in March, and for any large event that comes to the area, like the High Point Furniture Market, they activate the Emergency Operations Center.

“We don’t anticipate anything, but of course we’re ready in the event there’s a type of civil disturbance or power outage or traffic issue,” added Truitt.

FOX8 obtained photos from a 2018 Emergency Operations Center.

In one room, fire departments, EMS, law enforcement, public works leaders, and election officials, all gather. They keep an eye on the polling places, roadways, and any problems in the area.

“So resources can be allocated very quickly,” said Truitt.

That might mean they send out officers to direct drivers if there’s a traffic jam or send out generators if a voting location loses power.

Being in the same room as each other allows them to tackle any problem quickly and efficiently.

Truitt said they’re doing their best to prepare for anything, but people of Guilford County can help too.

“Just be as patient as possible,” he said, referring to potential long lines at voting sites. “Be ready to go in, cast your vote, and leave.”

Because of the pandemic, everyone won’t be as close to each other as in years past.

FOX8 is told they’ve moved to a larger room, where everyone can remain socially distant from each other, and wear masks.

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