Emergency Resources Coordinated Fast and Frugal

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COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - From the beginning of the February winter weather event, state authorities have been coordinating efforts and trying to save taxpayer money.

They're doing it out of a Department of Transportation facility in Colbert County.
It's a new system set up to react to all kinds of emergencies with cost-saving efficiency.

No matter what the weather does, no matter where, emergency agencies in alabama are constantly preparing to respond as a team before, during and after the event.

"The idea is all disasters are local, so the counties are going to do everything they can to work it at the lowest level," said Tony Wingo, Alabama Emergency Management Agency Division Supervisor. "Anything they can't fill, then they come to us."

Wingo said it's all about efficientcy and cost-savings, learned in the aftermath of April 27th, 2011.

The departments that lead recovery efforts are all represented at a command center at the Alabama Department of Transportation facility in Colbert County: ALDOT, Forestry, the National Guard, Public Safety.

They're all there to coordinate resources for county leaders who've exhausted all of their options and still need help.

"Transportation, security, even generator support for critical need shelters and things like that," said Wingo of the kinds of resources coordinated. "It can be anything related to a disaster."

Since the requests come in from all over the state, the team makes sure the counties get what they need without wasting anything.

"So,what we try to do is save the taxpayers money and us, as taxpayers, by deconflicting and eradicating, if you want to say that, the duplication of requests," Wingo said.

They'll even go out of state to get the resources if necessary.

The idea for the center came out of a painful past in Alabama.

"Sixty-seven tornadoes hit the state of Alabama and did so much damage... tremendous loss of life that particular day," Wingo recalled. "And in the recovery part of it we were having difficulty trying to coordinate all the efforts of all the recovery."

He explained the key to its success is close communication at all levels of leadership -- city, county and state -- to make sure all Alabamians are taken care of during times of trouble beyond their control.