Gadsden-Etowah EMA receives Mitigation Award


The Gadsden/Etowah Emergency Management Agency recently received the Large County Mitigation Award from the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers(AAEM). 

This award is in recognition for the “Shelter Etowah” program, which is currently made up of 15 community facilities that include; area wide churches, the Gadsden Public Library, area Community Centers & FEMA approved community safe rooms. 

This program was initiated by the Gadsden-Etowah County EMA in collaboration with;  Simple Pixle Media and the Emergency Management Department of Jacksonville State University, its Director, Dr. Jeff Ryan; Professors, Dr. Tanveer Islam, Dr. Gretchen Richards and doctoral student Ms. Celeste Richardson.

All of these individuals, including the community shelter personnel,  had a significant role in assisting EMA in the development, implementation and continued operation of this program which enhances the ability of residents in Etowah County to locate adequate temporary shelter during forecast weather incidents.”

“This program is computer based and provides the resident with physical location, a visual landmark, whether facilities are open, closed or at maximum capacity and whether the facility accepts pets.  All facilities are ADA compliant.  Furthermore, JSU provided the expertise in developing the APPs for both Android and iPhone which provides the public the ability to find shelter information while mobile and JSU Graphics department provided Gadsden-Etowah County EMA with the reflective artwork used in each of the 20 portable sidewalk/roadway signs provided by EMA to assist the motoring public of the location when seeking these shelters.

In addition, Dr. Ryan was instrumental in having the Shelter Etowah program published in the international newsletter; International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), which reaches the emergency management discipline worldwide.  As a result of these efforts, this program is being touted as a “pilot program” for other EMA’s throughout Alabama and elsewhere.”

“For their work in assisting Gadsden-Etowah County EMA, Jacksonville State University, Emergency Management Department, has received the IAEM 2014 Technology & Innovation Division 2 Award by the USA Council of the IAEM for its development of the “Shelter Etowah” mobile application. 

The Division 2 award category is for State/Regional/National International Government, International, or Non-Profit Organization (such as colleges/universities or associations).

The Shelter Etowah mobile ‘app’ was developed by EM doctoral student Ms. Celeste Richardson under the supervision of EM faculty, Dr. Tanveer Islam. The award will be presented at the IAEM 62nd Annual Conference & EMEX 2014, Nov. 14-19, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas.” 

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