Readiness, Response, and Action
April 1, 2018 | View PDF
There are three dates that many of us in Alabama will never forget. The most prominent being those of April 3, 1974, April 27, 2011, and most recently March 19, 2018. On each of those days portions of Alabama were devastated by tornadoes ranging from categories F3 to F5. Lives were lost, people were seriously injured, and homes and businesses were destroyed. Compounding those tragedies was the fact that some communities lacked electrical service for several days. Even those who were not directly impacted by those storms must have felt great relief when their electricity was restored. We have now entered back into tornado season in our state and have already seen the effects this spring of what a catastrophic system can do, each of us need to take the steps to prepare for such an occurrence. That includes the utilities that serve our state. I am pleased that at least one electric utility in Alabama continues to work, as it has for many years, to ensure that it can respond quickly and efficiently to the most violent storms we will experience. That utility is Alabama Power.
It is vital that utilities can respond quickly and efficiently because electricity is vital to meeting the needs of all Alabamians. Without electricity, medical facilities may not be able to meet the needs of the sick, industries can’t produce, and stores can’t sell supplies people may need to survive. It is not an overstatement to say that lives are saved when electricity is restored. Alabama Power understands that and understands it well; that is why it stands ready to respond.
As you can imagine, modern technology is a critical element in any plan to respond to storm damage. Advanced meters can now automatically notify Alabama Power of outages. That way, Alabama Power knows about outages even before receiving telephone calls from homeowners and business owners. But older technology still has a role to play in storm damage response.
I encourage each of you to take the threat of severe weather seriously and to prepare for it as best you can. Meteorologists tend to catch a lot of grief with misprediction or being overly cautious but after our state experienced mass destruction from an F5 in 2011, there is no such thing as being too careful and err on the side of caution. I encourage everyone to purchase a weather radio, to familiarize yourself with the settings, the meaning of the notifications, and to have your storm plan in place. Together we can educate ourselves to keep us, our loved ones, and neighbors safe. It is my prayer that Alabama be spared of any future devastating storms and that those who have recently been affected get the means they need to rebuild and find their normal again soon. It is in times like these you see the best in people. With everything circulating in the news lately regarding violence and hatred, we sometimes see the most encouragement from humanity in our darkest hours, strangers helping strangers.
The views of this editorial may not express the views of The Alabama Gazette.