– Hanceville mayor Kenneth Nail, commenting on the portable Wi-Fi hotspot deployed in Cullman County just two days after the storms
In calm times, Extension is busy preparing communities, businesses, and individuals for all phases of disaster—prevention and protection, response, and mitigation. Following disaster, Extension offers just-in-time practical information in response to needs of survivors. After the devastating tornadoes of 2011, Extension personnel helped families, friends, and neighbors cut down trees, remove debris, collect salvageable items, and much more. Extension also continued assistance to those affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Opportunity Offer broad assistance and support to the survivors of the 177 tornadoes that struck Alabama in 2011.
Impact ACES helped survivors connect with agencies providing assistance, directed volunteers, coordinated distribution of donated items, and worked with Farm Service Agency representatives to assess agricultural damage; addressed needs of timber producers (204,590 acres were affected, with an assessed value of $228,360,576) and poultry producers (more than 3.2 million chickens were killed and 700 poultry houses were damaged or destroyed); provided just-in-time education to those in need; and conducted poststorm tree management workshops. Extension professionals remain involved in long-term recovery efforts.
Impact Agents used the ACES website, which was updated daily, to access information and educational resources. ACES cooperated with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, Alabama Department of Emergency Management, Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, Alabama Farmers Federation, Alabama Poultry and Egg Association, USDA Farm Services Agency, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Southern Regional Extension Forestry.
Impact Cullman County professionals, including teachers, health care providers, public safety officers, and private citizens used Extension’s mobile Internet unit to charge cell phones, check e-mail, submit disaster assistance applications, conduct work, and take stress-relief breaks. After four days in Cullman, the unit was moved to Marion County, where high school students used it to conduct research and complete assignments until the school year ended.
Opportunity Direct youth in ways to help their communities recover from the 2011 storm damage while providing young people with opportunities for service and learning.
Impact Baldwin County 4-H’ers collected and delivered personal items and school supplies to Hackleburg; 4-H’ers in North Alabama helped a fellow 4-H’er after his home was severely damaged. 4-H agents also volunteered in Tuscaloosa and other areas to provide educational programs to children while their parents worked on their damaged homes. Out-of-state 4-H’ers collected donations of feed, hay, and supplies for Marion County.
Opportunity Reestablish urban canopies.
Impact ACES initiated Canopy by Design, a four-county (Cullman, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison) pilot project focused on enabling limited-resource communities to make research-based decisions about tree selections, site preparation and design, and tree planting. Using the expertise of the Alabama Master Gardener Program, the project offers non–Master Gardener participants training in tree selection and establishment.
Opportunity Educate Alabamians in preparing for disasters.
Impact Extension urban professionals participated with more than 40 exhibitors at the Disaster Preparedness Fair held in November at the Alabama A&M University Agribition Center. Topics included emergency contacts, disaster kits and family escape plans, food safety, and pet care. The Teens Making an Impact youth development program distributed clothing and household cleaning supplies to an estimated 200 families affected by the 2011 storms.
Opportunity Help the economy of the Alabama Gulf region affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill improve and the area achieve economic diversification and sustainability. Help families begin to recover financially.
Impact ACES developed four workshops attended by 807 individuals—Oil Spill Training for Homeowners, Financial Stress and Credit Repair, Returning to Work, and Home Budgeting. With a $93,006 grant—part of the $110 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Program for Shrimpers—ACES also developed a 12-hour small business workshop to train shrimpers in four business areas. If all 215 participants complete all phases of the program, the initial economic impact to Baldwin and Mobile Counties will be $1,932,216.
Impact Extension partnered with the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium to train 7,000 peer listeners; to develop with BP a training program for homeowners to teach them how to protect people, pets, and property when cleaning up oil; to organize a seafood working group to provide guidance and coordination of seafood safety, fisheries closures, and approaches to reopening closed fisheries; to provide legal explanations, translation services, damage claim assistance, and other services; and to form a team of four task forces to address oil spill issues.
Also available is a print-friendly version of the ACES Stakeholder Report 2011: Disaster Response