Six months after one of Alabama’s deadliest tornado outbreaks, you can’t help but reflect on what you were doing when you learned of the magnitude of the April 27th storms and what those first images and sounds were like as people described the storms’ impact on their lives. As the State Coordinating Officer for Alabama Emergency Management Agency, my mission was meeting the immediate needs of the survivors, ensuring they had a place to shelter, something to eat and staff available to answer their questions as they made future plans regarding their recovery.
In the midst of sheer devastation, the April storms are an example of team work and coordination, between the locals, state, federal, private and volunteer partners. As I reflect back, if a part of that puzzle was missing, the response and recovery would not have gone as well. With any big, life-altering event, you walk away with life lessons; as an agency we are looking at definite areas we want to modify and amend before the next disaster. I’m convinced that this will not be the worst disaster that we will ever face, as bad as this disaster was for the state. That’s why it’s important for AEMA to continue to train and exercise for the worst-case scenario and hope for the best outcome.
Six months later, this mission is far from over. That is why it is imperative for the AEMA staff and the rest of Alabamians not to forget the lives lost as a result of the April 27 storms and the April 15 storms. Each of us can honor the memory of the victims by making sure our friends, family members and neighbors take severe weather preparedness serious.
Here’s an update on the work we’ve done and our ongoing recovery efforts following the devastating storms in Alabama six months ago:
To learn more about preparedness in Alabama, visit http://www.ema.alabama.gov/.