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Emergency Management Preparedness For All Hazards provided by: Calhoun County EMA Sunday, April 24, 2011

Emergency Management Preparedness For All Hazards

The Anniston Star



( Is having the ability to respond before, during and after a serious emergency.)

Calhoun County EMA

We’re Here For You The Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency serves citizens in all communities in Calhoun County. The EMA is here to coordinate efforts to prepare for and respond to a disaster, either natural or man-made. The EMA works with state and federal agencies to assure that our citizens are fully prepared, protected, and assisted before, during, and after a disaster. Our employees work with many agencies and groups to coordinate preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts to protect our citizens in the event the worst happens. In addition to handling disasters and emergencies, the Calhoun County EMA works to assist first responders and other agencies in obtaining resources and training to help make their jobs safer and easier.

Protective Equipment Recycling Happening Now With the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile at the Anniston Army

For over twenty years Calhoun County has been a part of the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP). CSEPP was created as a unique partnership between the United States Army and FEMA. It was setup to develop ways to prepare communities surrounding a chemical stockpile facility, communities like Calhoun County, for emergencies that could result from an accident during the destruction of the chemical stockpile. It is because of this partnership combined with the ongoing cooperation of local emergency managers, first responders, and volunteers that Calhoun County has been able to prepare effectively for the worst.

Depot nearing completion, personal

In Calhoun County, CSEPP has provided the means for the Calhoun County EMA to have increased staffing and a new facility which includes a state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center located at 507 Francis Street in Jacksonville. The EOC is staffed by knowledgeable and well-trained employees that have the ability to assess the needs of the community before disaster strikes, to communicate with the community during a disaster, and to respond to the needs of the community after a disaster. The EOC is where elected officials, first responders, and volunteer agencies operate from during a disaster. CSEPP also provided funding for 108 outdoor warning sirens to alert citizens during an emergency as well as provided over 70,000 free NOAA weather radios to serve as emergency alert radios in homes, schools, and businesses in the county. The thousands of hours of training offered by CSEPP have made citizens and first responders better able to prepare for and respond to emergencies. The 800 Megahertz radio system funded by CSEPP provides first responders with a more reliable radio system to use every day and in emergencies.

protective hoods which were provided only

Thanks to the efforts of the many individuals involved in the CSEPP program, the level of preparedness in Calhoun County has greatly increased. Citizens are now better protected, thanks to the outdoor warning sirens stationed throughout the county and the free emergency alert radios distributed in the county. First Responders are able to communicate better and faster thanks to the 800 Megahertz radio system. Families, schools, and businesses know now that a Disaster Supply Kit and an Emergency Plan are essential. Although the end of CSEPP quickly approaches, officials expect the destruction of the stockpile at the Anniston Army Depot to be complete by Summer 2011, CSEPP will still be here to support our community until the very end. The legacy of preparedness, training, and cooperation left by CSEPP will be an asset to our county for years to come. Even though the CSEP Program is ending soon, eliminating the threat from the chemical weapons stockpile, many hazards still remain in our county. The Calhoun County EMA will still be here constantly working to make sure are citizens are protected and prepared for all the threats our community faces.

protective equipment provided as part of the CSEPP program is no longer needed. This equipment includes: Tone Alert Radios which are light gray radios activated during tornado warnings and monthly tests, to residents in the “Pink Zones”, and portable room air cleaners. The Tone Alert Radio units are no longer activated for severe weather or monthly tests; they have been replaced by the new NOAA weather radios. You may take the items you wish to dispose of to the Calhoun County Recycling Center. The Recycling Center is located behind the Calhoun County Civil Defense Building at 4657 BynumLeatherwood Road (near the intersection of Bynum-Leatherwood Road and Highway 431). Please place your equipment in the red container labeled CSEPP. If you have any questions, please contact the Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540.

If you are interested in having someone from the EMA speak to your school, church, business, or organization about disaster preparedness, please contact the Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540.

Here’s how you can link up to the Calhoun County EMA: On Facebook at On Twitter at For more information on Nixle, visit

Contact Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540 or log on to Paid for by the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Emergency Management Preparedness For All Hazards

The Anniston Star • Page 2

The Importance Of A

Family Emergency Plan Planning and preparation are the key to being ready for a disaster. One of the most important things you can do to be ready is to create an Emergency Plan for your family. Knowing what to do in a disaster is your best protection and your responsibility. You can create a Family Emergency Plan by following these simple steps: • Meet with your family and talk about the hazards that could impact your community and how you will respond. • Everyone should know what to do in case your family is separated before, during, or after a disaster. • Discussing what to do ahead of time will help reduce fear and anxiety if a disaster happens. • Make sure you take into account family members with special needs, such as senior or infants. Don’t forget to make plans for taking care of your pets either. • Develop an emergency communication plan. Include all family members’ cell phone numbers and work numbers. • In case family members are separated from one another during disasters, have a plan for getting back together. Separation is a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school. • Identify meeting places in your neighborhood (in case of a house fire) and meeting places outside your neighborhood in case you have to evacuate. • Write down the address and phone number of all the places where your family spends the most time (work, school, church, etc). Schools, daycares, and workplaces should all have site specific emergency plans that your family should know about.

• Select at out-oftown relative or friend to be the “family contact” person. After a disaster, it is often easier to make a long distance call than a local call. Family members should call the contact and tell him or her where they are. Everyone must know the contact’s name, address, and phone number. • Teach children to call your family contact in case they are separated from the family in an emergency. Help them memorize the telephone number, or write it down on a card that they can keep with them. • Know what to do if authorities instruct you to shelter-inplace or evacuate. • Keep a copy of your Emergency Plan with your Disaster Supply Kit and an extra copy in a safe place. Every member of the family should carry a copy of the important phone numbers and meeting places with them at all times. Practice and maintain your plan by reviewing and updating it every six months or with any major changes in your family. For help in creating your Family Emergency Plan, you can contact the Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540.

Assemble a Family Disaster Kit Although the CSEPP program is drawing to a close in Calhoun County, that doesn’t mean disasters can’t happen. They can come in many forms and at any time, so your need for a disaster supply kit is just as important. A disaster supply kit, which includes the items below as well as other emergency supplies, can be invaluable to you and your family in the days following a disaster. Personalize your kits with the things you need daily. In a sturdy, portable container, have the following on hand: • A flashlight and battery-operated radio (preferably an Emergency Alert NOAA Weather Alert Radio) with fresh batteries. • A three-day supply or more of drinking water, which consists of one gallon per person per day. • Pet food and portable cages for family pets. • Bedding, wool blankets or good sleeping bags work well. • Comfort items such as books, crayons, toys and hard candy. • A three-day supply or more of non-perishable, ready-to-eat foods and a manual can opener. • Clothing for each family member. Rotate the clothing with the seasons, and as children grow in sizes. • Hygiene products such as soap, feminine supplies, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, diapers, etc. • A Class ABC fire extinguisher is designed to be used safely on any type of fire, including electrical, grease, gas and combustibles. • First aid kit. Include medications you need including prescriptions, and spare contacts and eyeglasses. • Money. During a disaster, cash is generally the accepted form of payment. Some businesses may not accept checks, credit or debit cards. If the power is interrupted, your ATM might not work. • Tools and supplies to include: an adjustable wrench for turning off gas and water utilities if it becomes necessary, also matches, whistle, pocket knife, pliers, scissors, sewing kit, hammer, rope or string, duct tape, etc. • Copies of important documents such as insurance papers, wills, deeds, drivers license, social security cards, etc.

Contact Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540 or log on to

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Emergency Management Preparedness For All Hazards

The Anniston Star • Page 3

Citizen Corps Program Volunteers Needed

The Citizen Corps Program provides a variety of volunteer opportunities and training for citizens, businesses, schools, and organizations interested in serving the community during a disaster. No matter what your interest, the Citizen Corps has a volunteer opportunity for you. Some of the programs sponsored by Citizen Corps include Community Emergency Response Teams, Volunteer Reception Centers, the Disaster Animal Welfare Group, and the Medical Reserve Corps. If you are interested in volunteering or would like disaster preparedness training, contact the Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540. The Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) program is designed to train citizens on how they can best survive a disaster until emergency services can arrive. CERT classes are conducted several times a year and instruct on the following topics: General Emergency Preparedness, Fire Safety and Suppression, Emergency Medical Operations, Light Search and Rescue Operations, CERT Organization and Incident Command, Disaster Psychology, and Emergency Communications. CERT training courses can be tailored to fit your group or organization’s needs. CERT training has been offered to businesses, JSU students, school nurses, senior citizen groups, and children. Our next scheduled CERT training will be a free summer camp for children. For more information on CERT training or to sign-up for the Summer CERT Camp, contact the Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540. A Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) is a vital part of organizing the numerous volunteers a county receives when a disaster occurs. It acts as a staging area to process and disseminate volunteers to

affected disaster areas. Both spontaneous volunteers as well as pre-registered Citizen Corps Volunteers are processed through a Volunteer Reception Center. By having a Volunteer Reception Center our county is preparing itself by establishing a staff of trained, registered and assigned volunteers who are capable, upon activation by an approved authority, of setting up, of managing, staffing and operating a facility that will mobilize and deploy volunteers in an efficient and timely manner. The Citizen Corps Program has established a Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) through a partnership with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. If you are interested in receiving VRC training, contact the Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540.

The Disaster Animal Welfare Group (D.A.W.G.) is dedicated to helping the animals in our community during a disaster. When a disaster occurs D.A.W.G will set up a temporary kennel intake for owned animals and stray animals in a disaster area. D.A.W.G. is dedicated to the people who have lost everything they own by helping ensure that people who are affected by a disaster do not have to worry about their pets or livestock. D.A.W.G. can help alleviate the some of the stress a disaster victim faces by taking care of their animal while they put their life back together. If you are interested in volunteering The Medical Reserve Corps with D.A.W.G, contact the Calhoun County (MRC) of Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540. is dedicated to establishing teams of local volunteer medical and public

LEPC Works to Make Calhoun County Safer Calhoun County’s Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) is comprised of first responders, elected officials, concerned citizens, and industry representatives. The LEPC works to understand chemical hazards in our community and to prevent chemical accidents through education and planning. The LEPC helps create the Emergency Operations Plan for the county. The LEPC meets quarterly to plan ways to better respond to a chemical accident. If you have any questions about hazardous chemicals or would like to get more information about the LEPC, please contact the Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540.

health professionals in Calhoun County that will contribute their skills and expertise throughout the year as well as during times of community need. Those MRC volunteers include medical and health professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, and epidemiologists. Many community members—interpreters, chaplains, office workers, legal advisors, and others—can fill key support positions as well. MRC volunteers are trained and prepared to respond to emergencies and they provide education, outreach and numerous other health services throughout the year. MRC volunteers supplement existing emergency and public health resources and agencies such as Red Cross, local public health, fire, police, and ambulance services. The result is a collaborative effort that is prepared for large scale public health crises. If you are interested in joining the Medical Reserve Corps of Calhoun County, you can contact the Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540.


Shelter In Place Tips If you are asked to Shelter In Place, remember the following tips: • If you are instructed to take shelter, remain calm and stay tuned to your EAS station. • Close all doors and windows. • Shut off outside air intakes for fans and air conditioners. • If you are in a car, close the windows and vents. • If you are not at home, go inside a friend’s house, a store, or other public building. • Children in school and day-care facilities will follow their plans and will be safe. • Keep pets inside with you and stay there. • If you are at home, shelter farm animals in barns, shelters, etc.

Chemical Accident Alert Actions • If you are instructed to take shelter, Remain calm and stay tuned to your EAS Station. • If you are in a car, close the windows and vents. • If you are not at home go inside a friend’s house, a store or other public building. • Children in schools and day-care facilities will follow their plans and be safe. • If you are at home, shelter farm animals in barns, shelters, etc. • Keep pets inside with you and stay there. • Close all outside doors and windows.

Contact Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540 or log on to

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Emergency Management Preparedness For All Hazards

In 2009 the Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency began the Emergency Alert Radio (EAR) project to distribute NOAA Weather Radios to its citizens through a program sponsored by CSEPP and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. These NOAA weather radios have replaced the Tone Alert Radios units previously used. Over 70,000 radios have been given to homes, schools, and businesses in the county. These free radios are designed to alert citizens during severe weather and local emergency

events, including an accident at the Anniston Army Depot. Once programmed to receive alerts for Calhoun County, an alarm will sound to notify you of a watch, warning, or advisory. As a reminder, you should occasionally unplug your Emergency Alert Radio to be assured that the batteries are good. If the batteries are good, the radio will remain on when unplugged. This will guarantee that your Emergency Alert Radio will continue to operate if the power goes out. Remember to plug your Emergency Alert Radio

The Anniston Star • Page 4

back in when you have completed testing. If you are new to the area or if you have not received a radio, you can contact the CSEPP Emergency Alert Radio Distribution Support Center at (256) 831-3277 or toll free at 1-877-441-3277. You may also contact the Support Center at or look for CSEPP Emergency Alert Radio on Facebook.

Following the Calhoun County EMA on

Social Media

The Calhoun County EMA is constantly looking for new ways to make sure our residents are quickly able to get information about severe weather and other emergencies. In addition to the traditional sources of communications, like sirens and EAS stations, the Calhoun County EMA is now using Facebook, Twitter and Nixle. By using social media sites and Nixle, the EMA is able to send and receive updates quickly regarding events that are happening in Calhoun County. These services also allow us to receive information from our residents, including inquiries about closures, road conditions, and reports of damage. During an emergency, conditions can change quickly. These sites allow us to inform the public quickly about these changes. The Calhoun County EMA, in addition to many other agencies in Calhoun County, uses 3 free sites: Facebook, Twitter, and Nixle. Facebook and Twitter allow us to have a two-way conversation with our citizens on a daily basis as well as during an emergency. You can check out our Facebook page or our Twitter feed for information on upcoming training opportunities, disaster preparedness tips, and any severe weather information, as well as updates on current road conditions and school closures. Facebook: This is a very popular, free-access social networking website that allows users to join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages and update their personal profile to notify friends about themselves. The Facebook system also allows for further interaction through user-generated applications that are similar to traditional software except are free and limited to the Facebook network. These applications are dynamic and an excellent source of tools for all Calhoun County EMA operations.

Twitter: This is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends (delivery to everyone being the default). Users can receive updates via the Twitter website, SMS, RSS, email, or through various applications. These various distribution mechanisms allow for Twitter to be used in a variety of ways including public education and public notification. Nixle is a unique service that allows the EMA to send messages about severe weather and other emergencies to you via text message and email. Nixle allows you to choose the information you want, for the addresses you want, in the format you want. There is no cost for this service, unless you are charged by your cellphone provider for text messages.

Here’s how you can link up to the Calhoun County EMA: On Facebook at On Twitter at For more information on Nixle, visit

Contact Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540 or log on to

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Emergency Management Preparedness For All Hazards

The Anniston Star • Page 5

EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM The Emergency Alert System (EAS) replaced the old Emergency Broadcast System. It is a coordinated effort among local Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, and area radio and television stations in order to update citizens on any current dangers. Local radio and television stations work closely with the Calhoun County EMA to provide information before, during and after an emergency. This will be your best and most reliable source of information during an emergency. Please keep a portable radio and extra batteries on hand. Monitor local radio and television for developing information during an emergency. Please do not call E-911 for information as this could create problems and slow the response to those who have a serious medical emergency.

Coping with a Heat Wave A heat stroke is a life threatening situation. The victim’s temperature control system stops working and as a result, the body temperature can increase high enough to cause brain damage or even death. If a heat wave is happening: • Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity.

• Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.

• Stay indoors or in the shade as much as possible.

• Eat small meals often. Avoid foods high in protein. Protein increases metabolic body heat.

• Drink plenty of water even if you do not feel thirsty. In periods of high heat stress your body will demand extra water to stay properly hydrated.

• Wear lightweight, loose fitting and light colored clothing.

Home Safety Tips: Fire Prevention • Make sure each family member

knows what to do in the event of a fire. Plan two escape routes out of each room. Make plans to meet outside the house in the event of a fire evacuation. Practice your fire evacuation plans each month. • Place collapsible escape ladders in upper level rooms. • Keep a whistle in each bedroom to awaken the household in case of a fire. • Sleep with your bedroom door closed and never open doors if they are hot. • Purchase and learn how to use an A-B-C fire extinguisher. • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home. • Teach family members to STOP, DROP, and ROLL if their clothing catches on fire. • Smother oil and grease fires in the kitchen with baking soda or sale, or put a lid over the flame if it is burning in a pan.

Contact Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540 or log on to

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Emergency Management Preparedness For All Hazards

Thunderstorm and Lightning Safety Responding to the threat of dangerous thunderstorms

The Anniston Star • Page 6

Safety Tips You Should Know - If you see or hear a thunderstorm coming, take cover in a house, large building or car. - Stay away from lakes, streams and rivers. If you are swimming or boating, get to land immediately. - Keep away from all metal objects (fences, power lines, bicycles, farm equipment and implements). - Avoid using the telephone, except for emergencies. Also avoid bath tubs, water faucets and sinks because metal pipes conduct electricity. - If you can’t get inside or if you feel your hair stand on end, which means lightning is about to strike, hurry to a low open space. Crouch down and place your hands on your knees. Do not lie flat on the ground. - In a forest, seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.

Lightning strikes can be powerful and deadly. Stay indoors, because no place outside is safe when lightning is in the area.

Contact Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540 or log on to

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Emergency Management Preparedness For All Hazards

Tornado Safety

EMERGENCY PLANS FOR BUSINESSES Emergencies can strike at any time and it is important to be prepared at work and at home . If you are a business owner, you

A tornado has been spotted near your home. How will you respond?

should have emergency plans for your business, employees and customers. Have a designated shelter room in your building for emergencies and a

A “Tornado Watch” means conditions If you are at school or work, designated are favorable for the development of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Keep up-to-date with the latest weather information by listening or watching local EAS stations or monitoring a weather radio.

The Anniston Star • Page 7

shelters are best. Avoid windows and large open rooms such as auditoriums, lunchrooms and gymnasiums.

If you are in a shopping center or mall,

go to the designated shelter or move to the lowest level. Stay away from glass A “Tornado Warning” means a tornado doors, walls, windows and roofs. Do not has been spotted or indicated by radar go to your car. and you must seek shelter immediately. Remember, tornadoes can occur with out If you are in a car or mobile home, leave warning before you see them. immediately and go to a more substantial structure. If no structure is available, lie If you are at home, go to the lowest floor flat in a ditch and cover your face with in the center of the house. Basements your hands or a blanket. Be alert for offer the best protection. Interior rooms possible flash flooding. such as bathrooms or closets offer good protection. Try to get under something Act quickly. You may only have a few sturdy such as a large piece of furniture. seconds to save your life and that of your Avoid windows and large rooms such as family. the living room. Do not open windows.

Flood Safety

Disaster Supply Kit in that room. Have a fully stocked First Aid Kit. Have a written plan to deal with different types of emergencies that may affect your business. Hold emergency preparedness meetings with employees and be sure they know what actions to take and what their responsibilities are during different types of emergencies. Be sure all exits are clearly marked. If an emergency occurs during business hours, be sure employees and customers are aware of the situation and follow the correct response procedures. For more information on how to help prepare your business for a disaster, call the Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540.

Facts you should know.

Flash floods are rapidly developing floods that can happen with little or no warning. Flash floods are most often caused by intense heavy rainfall, severe thunderstorms or breaks in a dam, levee or dike.

Stay away from flooded areas–even though the moving water may look safe, it may still be rising. Never try to walk, swim or dive into the water, because it may be moving very fast.

“Flash Flood Watch” means flooding may occur. Be alert, the potential for flash flooding exists. Persons in flood-prone areas should make preparations as soon as the flood watch is issued.

If you are in a car during a flood, get out immediately and move to higher ground.

“Flash Flood Warning” means flooding has been reported or is imminent. Take precautions and leave the area immediately.

Throw away perishable food that has come into contact with flood waters; eating it could make you sick.

More information Tornado Safety Before, a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not vis-

Flood Safety ible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It in not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a lowlying area, near water of downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies,

creeks, culverts, dry streambeds, or lowlying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.

Contact Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540 or log on to

?DAY, April ??, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

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Emergency Management Preparedness For All Hazards provided by: Calhoun County EMA

St. Clair Times

The Anniston Star • Page 8

Emergency Management Preparedness For All Hazards


In a disaster, children look to you and other adults for help. How you react to an emergency gives them clues on how to act. Children depend on daily routines. Children’s fears may stem from their imagination and you should take these feelings seriously. Your words and actions can provide reassurance. When talking with your child, be sure to present a realistic picture that is both honest and manageable. As an adult you need to keep control of the situation. When you are sure that danger has passed, concentrate on your child’s emotional needs. Also, having children participate in the family’s recovery activities will help them feel that their life will return to “normal .” Your response during this time may have a lasting impact. Be aware that after a disaster, children are most afraid that:

• The event will happen again • Someone will be killed or injured

• They will be separated from their family and left alone

STRANGER DANGER •A  ll children, regardless of age, can be put in danger by talking to strangers. Though you may want to give your older children more freedom, make sure they understand the dangers associated with the new freedom. • When talking to children about dangers, do so in a calm manner. Children do not need to be frightened to get the point across. Children have the right to feel safe. • Speak openly about safety issues. Such frankness can be used to develop a strong relationship with your children. • Teach your children that it is more important to get out of a threatening situation than it is to be polite. Let them know that it is important that they tell you what happened. • Try to encourage your children to always take a friend with them when they go places or even play outside. • Teach them it’s okay to say NO if someone tries to touch them or treats them in a way that makes them feel scared or uncomfortable and to get out of the situation as quickly as possible. • The biggest myth is that all dangers to children come from strangers. In many cases, the perpetrator is someone the parents or child knows and even trusted by the family.

Contact Calhoun County EMA at (256) 435-0540 or log on to

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