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Facebook provides Alabamians with tools, support for 2020 tornado season

Facebook is providing Alabama governments and residents with additional tools and resources to prepare and manage for what is expected to be an impactful tornado season.

“Facebook knows the devastation that tornadoes can cause in local Alabama communities so we are focused on providing tools to help protect lives and rebuild these communities,” said Will Castleberry, vice president, State Policy for Facebook.

“By providing new tools and resources to local governments and families, we hope Facebook can support Alabama residents when they need it most,” Castleberry added.

Certain tools that will be used to assist Alabamians should a tornado hit the state include:

  • Local alerts are push notifications to people following a local or state government, local or state public health agency or law enforcement Facebook page. Local alerts help local governments communicate urgent information when it directly affects people in their community or requires them to take action, such as road closures, blackouts or natural disasters, like a tornado.
  • Mark Yourself Safe that enables people to let loved ones and friends know that they are safe which allows first responders to focus on those that need urgent help.
  • Disaster Maps share real-time information with response teams, helping them determine things like whether communities have access to power and cellular networks, if they have evacuated, and what services and supplies they need most.
  • Facebook Groups help people build safe, supportive communities and strengthen existing ones. People create Groups in the wake of disasters to combine information to help others in the community and identify needs of those impacted by the storm.
  • Fundraising has become a crucial way for people to reach out to others as they rebuild their lives and homes, and support local organizations. In times of crisis and year-round, people use Facebook fundraising tools to support nonprofits or personal causes to help those in need.

Certain Facebook groups have been created in the past that have had a positive impact on the community.

“After the March 2019 tornado that hit Lee County, Ala., I wanted to connect the community to help share information and resources,” said Beauregard Strong group administrator, Ronald Lee Murray. “I created the Facebook group, Beauregard Strong, because of Facebook’s check-in capabilities that allow friends and families to be marked safe after a crisis.”

According to last year’s data, Alabama had 95 tornadoes, including an F3 in Beauregard.

Follow Kyle on Twitter @RealKyleMorris and Facebook.