During severe weather or winter storm events, power outages could occur. The following information is provided in conjunction with Huntsville Utilities:
Huntsville Utilities restores power in the following order:
Report outages just once; Huntsville Utilities keeps a list and multiple requests do not speed repairs.
Huntsville Utilities keeps a priority restoration list for those who live on electric powered life-support systems. The patient’s physician must request Huntsville Utilities, by letter, add a patient to the list. Being on the list does not necessarily mean power is restored quickly. If an upline substation is destroyed (as in the 1989 tornado) or main TVA power supply lines are severed (as in the 2011 tornado outbreak) the restoration could be prolonged, resulting in the need to move a patient. Do not wait until a person’s condition is critical before planning the move.
Huntsville Utilities will repair power lines up to the meter weatherhead. Huntsville Utilities will not repair any damage to the weatherhead or to circuits in the house. The owner is responsible for these repairs. These must be repaired by a licensed electrician and inspected before Huntsville Utilities will restore power.
Emergency Management, the Alabama National Guard, etc., do not provide generators for emergency power. Generators must be purchased and installed in advance.
Generators connected to household wiring systems must have a transfer box installed by a licensed electrician. The transfer box isolates the house wiring from Huntsville Utilities lines when the generator is in use. Generators installed without a transfer box send currents outside the house circuit into Huntsville Utilities lines and can electrocute linemen working on the lines.
Appliances connected directly to a portable generator and isolated from house wiring circuits do not need a transfer box. Set the generator away from the house and use approved extension cords to connect appliances. Keep extra fuel safely stored away from the generator in an approved container. Do not run a generator indoors, and that includes garages. The carbon monoxide will leak inside, creating a life-threatening situation.
By law, residents can store only 5 gallons of gasoline or kerosene in their home. All fuels must be kept in approved containers. Do not use milk and antifreeze jugs, glass jars and even approved containers with missing lids, etc. Fumes spread from leaks and will find a source of ignition.
The Cold War is over, but the threat of nuclear attack is not. Nuclear weapons, which presumably belong to governments, can be built by individuals, factions, terrorists groups, etc., with various ideologies and intentions.
If a nuclear attack is threatened, the only practical option to protect Madison County residents is to shelter the population in fallout shelters. The Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency maintains a current listing of fallout shelters in Madison County, as well as a plan that addresses nuclear attack.
After a significant lull from 1987 to 1992, several events placed our nation on alert. Those included the bombings of the World Trade Center in New York City (1993) and the federal building in Oklahoma City (1995) as well as the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Also in 2001, there were mailings of letters tainted with anthrax to a few high-profile locations in the U.S.
In the years following those incidents, numerous smaller scale acts of domestic and international terrorism have taken place. The incidents have taken place in churches, marathons, movie theaters, a night club, and concerts, among other locations. Sadly, all of these acts demonstrate that the U.S. has joined the rest of the world in seeing terrorists targeting mass human casualties. International ethnic terrorist groups and domestic extremist groups claiming various causes have moved into today’s terrorism picture.
Terrorists tend to select targets which are accessible, vulnerable, critical, and have symbolic significance to the public. Striking these type targets result in having the intended political, psychological, and economic effects. Examples of such targets include military installations, government buildings and officials, corporate offices of defense contractors, major sources of energy (nuclear power plants, hydroelectric plants, steam plants, etc.) and other vital industries.
In Madison County, the threat of terrorism exists due to our federal and military facilities, as well as a defense industry presence.
Energy emergencies can include both fast developing fuel shortages caused by an oil embargo, a power or natural gas outage, and creeping shortages caused by rising costs of fuel and electricity.
Fuel shortages can be caused by localized imbalances in supply. Temporary maldistribution of supply can cause fast-developing local hardships. Strikes, severe cold weather, and winter storms can disrupt fuel movements and cause regional shortages.
A shortage of energy in one form can affect and cause shortages in other fuels such as propane, heating oil and residual oil, which are substitutes for natural gas. These emergencies can threaten both our health and livelihoods.
An energy crisis will vary with the type of energy resource involved. A lightning bolt could cause an electric power blackout with no warning. A truckers’ strike could be announced with a week or more to plan for the impending fuel shortage.
There is a potential for radiological accidents to occur due to the widespread and growing commercial use and transportation of radioactive materials through North Alabama. Radioactive materials are heavily utilized in the medical and research fields as well as Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant.
A civil disturbance can occur in Madison County that would require the swift, coordinated response of municipal and county law enforcement and supporting agencies to protect lives and property and to maintain order.
A civil disturbance may range from a protest demonstration to full-scale rioting. It may start as the result of a conspiracy or be triggered by an isolated incident. It may involve only residents of Huntsville, Madison, or Madison County, though outside groups could choose Huntsville or Madison County as a target for disorder.
Emergency Management’s role in this situation is to coordinate necessary resources and disseminate emergency public information to citizens, telling them what actions to take for their own protection.
The likelihood of Madison County suffering a major disaster caused by a hazardous materials accident has grown considerably because of the increase in everyday use by all segments of our population, compounded by the increased movement of hazardous materials by all modes of transportation. Hazardous materials are prevalent in most households and businesses in Madison County.
There are several thousand hazardous materials in daily use that can cause a local emergency and affect a substantial number of people. These effects include potential contamination of a community, explosions, and fires.
Businesses and industries in Madison County maintain a current Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for any hazardous material they manufacture, use, store, or transport. Additionally, businesses and industries that have Extremely Hazardous Substances above the Threshold Planning Quantity (in accordance with SARA Title III) are required to submit Uniform Emergency Response Plans to the Emergency Management Agency.
Madison County has nine dams listed on the Corps of Engineers dam inventory. None of the dams directly threaten life or residences, but could cause very minimal property damage.
Additionally, Guntersville Dam is located up river from Huntsville in Marshall County. If Guntersville Dam were to fail, low-lying areas along the Tennessee River from Cloud’s Cove to Triana, and inland areas along the Paint Rock and Flint rivers would flood. To protect your safety before, during and after a dam failure, follow the safety guidelines indicated for floods.