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History of AFCEMA | Print |

The Atlanta-Fulton County Civil Defense Office was initially organized in the mid-1940's - during World War II - as a part of the "home guard" or "air raid warden" setup. It was a volunteer organization with no salaried personnel. The first Director was Mr. G.M. "Pup" Phillips. The office was located in the basement of the Municipal Auditorium at 30 Courtland St, which is now the Georgia State University Alumni Hall. When the Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950 (PL 81-920) was adopted, the office was officially designated as Atlanta Metropolitan Area Civil Defense (AMACD) and included Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties, and the City of Atlanta.

These were the principal counties in the Metro Atlanta area at the time, and it was decided that one office should have overall responsibility for the area's civil defense program. Apparently, this consolidation was accomplished by a "gentlemen's agreement" since a written agreement on the program has never been located.

In 1951, the Georgia Assembly passed legislation entitled the "Civil Defense Act of 1951", which requires that each incorporated area with a population of at least 1,000 have a civil defense organization. As a result, many of the municipalities decided to establish their own civil defense office and withdrew from AMACD. Cobb County was the first to withdraw, followed by Clayton County and several of the cities within Fulton County: Alpharetta, College Park, East Point, Fairburn, Hapeville, Roswell, and Union City.

DeKalb County remained a part of the AMACD until the latter part of 1962. Once DeKalb seceded, Atlanta, Mountain Park, Palmetto, and unincorporated Fulton County made up the whole of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area Civil Defense office. The office continued to operate under that title until the directorship was assumed by Colonel William E. Smith on 1 June 1973. He requested the name be changed from the Atlanta Metropolitan Area Civil Defense Program to the Atlanta-Fulton County Civil Defense Agency, which became official on 1 January 1974.

The Georgia Emergency Management Act of 1981 repealed the Georgia Civil Defense Act, and on 1 January 1982, the name was changed to the Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency.

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