Jefferson Co EMA discusses technology safeguards since 2011

Updated: Apr. 27, 2019 at 7:01 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The idea of April 27th brings up a lot of strong feelings, and even fear.

Saturday is the 8th anniversary of that deadly storm. Since then, many people in Alabama have started taking tornadoes even more seriously.

The Jefferson County EMA’s Office has learned from that storm. There have been three key elements implemented since that day that’s helping provide better protection to residents.

One the major changes includes a new radar system that allows the EMA to track storms from far away as Arkansas. In 2011 that wasn’t possible for this office. They’ve also established the Everbridge system.

When the National Weather service issues a polygon tornado warning every household , school , or business will get an alert. It's alerting people through cell phones and land lines.

Also, the EMA has moved away from county wide manual siren systems to alert neighbors about tornado warnings. Those are now automatic for people who are in the designated tornado warning polygon area.

“We have to educate people that they will not go off countywide anymore because people would get complacent,” said EMA Director Jim Coker.

“Our education process is if you hear it you have to do something right now. In years past it was the entire county, but as of the weather technology gets better the warnings get tighter and there are less false warnings,” he continued.

Coker said they've also established a social media presence that helps the EMA get the word out about weather alert days.

To sign up for the Everbridge system visit the EMA’s website HERE.

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