AL EMA offices in communication mode ahead of Wednesday storms

AL EMA offices in communication mode ahead of Wednesday storms
Source: WSFA 12 News
Source: WSFA 12 News

ELMORE CO., AL (WSFA) - With the potential of severe weather ahead, first responders and families across central and south Alabama are preparing for the active weather day. EMA offices across the state utilized Tuesday as an information sharing day.

"It's critical to get the word out," said Eric Jones, Director, Autauga County EMA.

With practically every school in the River Region closed, mom's like Olivia Kioni-Hendrieth are stocking up. With a trunk full of groceries, Kioni-Hendrieth is ready to take on the day with provisions like salsa and cookies for her son. With severe weather looming, she also has the essentials for her safe place ready to go.

"Last time we literally got into our bathtub, like my son and I and my husband, so this time we'll make sure we have things right there ready to grab if we need it," said Kioni-Hendrieth.

Kelley Bradley went over emergency plans with her family, also.

"We've already talked to the girls. They know if it starts getting really bad after I go to work they know where they're supposed to go to be safe and keep their phones with them at all times," said Bradley.

While Bradley communicates with her daughters, EMA officials are also coordinating ahead of Wednesday's threat.

"Everybody in the city we've talked with them, everybody on the county side we're all prepped," said Ernie Baggett, Director, Autauga County EMA

The calm, after and now before the storm, allowing for Autauga and Elmore County EMA's to prepare, plan and communicate with the players involved.

"We want to make sure they're all in a posture to be able to be prepared. If we do have impacts...they're in a readiness state, ready to respond to whatever we have to deal with," said Jones.

Taking the information that's being pushed out through the NWS and making sure first responders and city and county agencies are all on the same page.

"That communication across the board gives us continuity, it gives the government flow. Good communications are always important but in a situation like this that continuity is really there," said Baggett.

"At the local level, having those relationships already in place is critical to making sure we communicate and collaborate effectively," said Jones.

Everyone from ambulance service, sheriff, fire and highway departments, EMA, amateur radio, city officials, county administrators and elected officials will all be communicating as Wednesday's weather unfolds.

"We're trying to make sure that all of our partners know how they will see the weather unfold tomorrow and understand the multiple waves of weather that we can see," said Jones.

As EMA officials brief their stakeholders, there are things folks can do at home to be prepared as well.

"They download your app if they have a weather radio, they need to know how they're going to receive that information and secondly they need to know what they're going to do to anticipate a warning being issued and that alarm, that alert coming out and it just needs to be second nature that as soon as they hear that alarm they need to go to their safe place," said Jones.

"Have some supplies because you may lose power for a little while, as we experienced just the other day it only takes one tree sometimes to cause a lot of problems for a lot of people," said Baggett.

Officials say there's usually a siren test the first Wednesday of every month for both Elmore and Autauga counties, that will not happen this Wednesday, so if you hear an alarm it is for real and *not* a test!

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