Federal Emergency Management Agency

A search and rescue team from Tennessee has been deployed to Alabama ahead of the expected arrival of Hurricane Michael.

The Memphis Fire Department says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has asked Tennessee Task Force Type 3 to report to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.

The department says a team of 80 firefighters, doctors, engineers and dog handlers departed Tennessee yesterday.

The task force will be responsible for wide-area and swift water search and rescue efforts.

Emergency managers in Alabama are gearing up for the beginning of hurricane season next month.

The state of Alabama will hold its annual hurricane drill today. State officials including Governor Kay Ivey will gather in Clanton for the procedure.

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency holds the exercise each year to practice its procedures and to ensure coordination between various local, state and federal agencies.

Shannon Arledge / CDP

A facility in Anniston, Alabama that trains first responders is suspending its use of chemical and biological substances after it mistakenly used lethal ricin during training exercises.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it's halting use of the chemicals through January at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston.

The agency made the announcement earlier this week on a website set up to provide updates on the center, where thousands of firefighters, paramedics and others have trained.

Pratt City tornado
Christopher Mardorf / FEMA

Officials in Birmingham, Alabama say three of five planned community storm shelters will be open before the spring tornado season next year.

That's nearly six years after the April 27, 2011 tornadoes that devastated parts of Alabama, including the community of Pratt City. One tornado hit the northwest Birmingham community, killing one person and destroying the library, a fire station, numerous homes, apartment buildings, at least one church and several vehicles.

September is National Preparedness Month, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is urging Alabamians to be prepared for disasters.

FEMA is partnering with the Ad Council to encourage people to take time to develop a plan in the event of a disaster. The agency says families should think about things like supplies to have on hand, locations of local shelters and where to go in the event of an emergency.

Tuscaloosa tornado damage
NWS Birmingham / Wikimedia

The federal government says it wants its money back after auditors claim Tuscaloosa improperly received more than $1 million in aid following the 2011 tornadoes.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General has determined the Federal Emergency Management Agency should reclaim about $1.2 million in storm assistance funding.