Severe weather preparedness becomes pressing issue as storms approach state

ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Emergency management agencies across Alabama are preparing for Wednesday’s threat of severe weather.

In Etowah County, that includes help from volunteers like CERT. CERT stands for Community Emergency Response team. On Tuesday night, almost 30 people gathered for the twice-yearly training at the Gadsden/Etowah EMA office.

“We have a ten level apartment complex where I work at, and it’s important for the elderly and disabled to survive in a crisis situation,” said volunteer Theresa Scott.

Leaders with the EMA says participation is growing, and that could partially be because the state is no stranger to deadly storm systems.

“April 27, 2011-there were so many people that thought they were prepared, but they learned that today they were not,” said Deborah Gaither, EMA Director. “I think there has been a lot of education and training since then, and our citizens are more prepared.”

That preparation includes having a plan, practicing it, and keeping an up-to-date kit complete with everything you may need to ride out severe weather.

“When there is a severe weather situation, people may be traveling on the road way, going to their job, maybe even church, so we need to make sure they have a plan for every location and scenario that might befit them,” Gaither said.

Because Wednesday’s storm system is expected to begin in the early morning hours, when many people may be sleeping, Gaither says it’s important to have a way to wake up and take action, should a dangerous storm head your way.

“We always encourage our citizens to make sure they know their plan, they’ve practiced of their plan, their weather radios are plugged up, they have extra batteries, and they know where they’re getting their alerts from,” Gaither said.

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