Extension offices handbook offers storm preparation, recovery resources

Published 6:27 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Residents of Lowndes County recently weathered storms which devastated neighborhoods in surrounding counties, and with help from the Alabama Extension Emergency Handbook, communities can learn how best to prepare for and recover from a variety of emergency situations.

“Extension teaches classes on so many different subjects,” said County Extension Coordinator Tana Shealey. “The handbook covers how to prepare for and recover after severe weather.”

Shealey said farmers and other rural residents are often surprised to discover all the ways extension offices can help them be ready for emergencies.

“We teach them to make plans ahead of time, to relocate their animals to safety as well as what to do when a storm pops up quickly for them to relocate animals,” Shealey said. “Extension works with Emergency Management Agencies to gather information which helps us understand what different types of storms can do, so all this is put in a handbook we can give out to residents.”

Alabama’s tornado season typically falls during March, April, and May each spring and returns in the fall during November and December. Storms extended into January this year and Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency Director Rodney Rudolph said storm preparedness is essential to weathering emergency situations.

“My main goal right now is to get plans in place,” Rudolph said.

According to Shealey, understanding weather terminology is important to staying safe during storms.

“Not all of us remember what it means to be under a tornado warning or watch,” Shealey said. “There are different terminologies that people need to know. Extension has put all that information in a pamphlet at no cost to the public.

“There are tips to remain safe, places that are best in our homes or businesses, things to have in a kit, and how to prepare for a water outage, such as having a stockpile of bottled water and making sure you have canned goods which can be heated on a grill.”

The handbook includes information centered around safety after a disaster, clearing debris from land, and also food and water safety during a power outage.

Shealey said Extension Offices host meetings with stakeholders to start them thinking about emergency preparedness. The office also partners with EMA to host workshops for sharing information with local residents.

“We want to do a workshop with the Extension Office, so people can get information on how to prepare for storms,” Rudolph said. “We are having them back-to-back. So, we’re working on education and also getting more help for emergency response.”

Organizers are planning a workshop for February. The date and time will be published once it is available.

For more information, visit aces.edu or call the Lowndes County Extension Office at (334) 548-2315.