Meet the Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency

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When a disaster occurs in the Huntsville-Madison County area, do you know who to turn to for help?

One organization you can rely on is the Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency (HMCEMA), led by Director Jeff Birdwell.

A city-county government agency, the Huntsville-Madison Emergency Management Agency serves all who work, live, and visit Madison County. The emergency managers work to provide information necessary to prepare for as well as mitigate natural and man-made hazards in Madison County.

Huntsville-Madison County EMA outdoor siren policy (Photo: WHNT/Christina Edwards)

Huntsville-Madison County EMA outdoor siren policy (Photo: WHNT/Christina Edwards)

For example, in the case of tornado warnings issued in Madison County, the HMCEMA is responsible for sounding the sirens located within the tornado warning polygon issued by the National Weather Service. Sirens located outside of the polygon will not sound, but sirens in the polygon will sound continuously for five minutes, and will resound again in the event of a newly issued or continued tornado warning.

With that in mind, the emergency managers urge you not to solely rely on the sirens, but to have other sources for weather alerts, including NOAA weather radios as well as weather apps downloaded to your mobile device, including LiveAlert19.

Huntsville-Madison County EMA outdoor siren policy states sirens inside the polygon will sound, those outside of the polygon will not sound (Photo: WHNT/Christina Edwards)

Huntsville-Madison County EMA outdoor siren policy states sirens inside the polygon will sound, those outside of the polygon will not sound (Photo: WHNT/Christina Edwards)

Located in downtown Huntsville, the HMCEMA is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the event that an emergency situation develops in Madison County, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated, and emergency managers collaborate with personnel from local government entities as well as volunteer organizations to react to as well as mitigate the impacts of the emergency.

Per the HMCEMA, "The EOC is also where information is collected, evaluated, and displayed. The EOC is an information and communications center where elected officials and managers can obtain information about a situation as it develops so that proper decisions can be made to protect the public, and resources can be allocated to the appropriate locations. Emergency public information is also passed on to the news media immediately, so that the public can be informed of emergency situations and decisions in a timely manner."

Disaster assistance

In the event of that an emergency or disaster takes place within Madison County, one of the goals of the HMCEMA is to make the public aware of disaster assistance that is available to them.

Depending on the disaster, individual or public assistance may be available following an emergency situation. Individual assistance includes aid in the form of temporary housing, individual and family grants, crisis counseling, etc.

Public assistance is issued to local government entities in order to repair or restore public resources like roadways, bridges, buildings, utilities, etc.

Click on the link to learn more about the Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency, and follow them on Facebook as well as Twitter for rapid updates during local emergency situations.