How residents can sign-up for severe weather notifications

In Alabama many people consider tornado season to be March and April; recent events illustrate that this is simply not the case. Jefferson County was significantly impacted by tornadoes on Christmas Day, December 25, 2015 and on March 1, 2016.

The Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency considers life safety as the highest priority. It is a goal of the JCEMA to give residents the most time possible to make decisions which could impact their lives.

Residents can sign up to receive warnings at the Jefferson County EMA website: www.jeffcoema.org

The red button in the center of the screen is a link to Everbridge; filling out the information will have alerts sent to you. You will always receive tornado warnings; you may elect to receive other types of warnings if you wish. You may select the best methods for you to receive warnings; for some people this may be a text message, for others, it may be a home telephone. You may also voluntarily provide other information that will assist first responders, such as medical needs; in the event of a prolonged storm, responders will have the capability to contact you.

In addition to weather warnings, Everbridge can be used to notify you for other events. On December 9, 2015 a truck caught fire on Interstate 59 near Arkadelphia Road; this was a hazardous materials incident. In the past police officers and firefighters had to go door-to-door to tell residents to either evacuate or shelter in place; on December 9 over 5,000 contacts to residents in the affected area. The message: shelter in place.

The JCEMA operates a system of mechanical tornado warning sirens across the County; these are for outdoor warning use only, and are not designed to be heard inside homes, businesses, churches, and other structures. Sirens, as with all mechanical devices, are subject to failure.

The JCEMA, in a partnership with the City of Birmingham 911 District also operates a County-wide notification system (Everbridge). Everbridge will notify residents by text message, cell phone, home phone, email, or TTY device of urgent warnings; these warnings are issued directly by the National Weather Service.

On Christmas Day Everbridge notified well over 60,000 contacts who were in the tornado warning polygon issued by the National Weather Service. The neighborhood president for the area which was struck credits receiving the telephone message for allowing her time to find shelter from the tornado. No lives were lost in this tornado; we hope to never lose another life in Jefferson County due to a tornado.

Please contact us at emainfo@jccal.org if you have any questions or need assistance.