On April 27, 2011, Director Tim Hatch began his day at the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) thinking, “My schedule is finally clear.” It wasn’t long before he realized he should “never, ever say that.”
On that day, disaster struck. Tornadoes ripped through the state, causing death and destruction in Tuscaloosa, Cullman, and Birmingham as well as some rural communities in northwest Alabama. From 1:00 to 11:00 PM, Hatch was in the ADPH Emergency Operations Center in Montgomery, tracking the tornadoes and responding to the disaster. Hatch and staff members in health departments across the state were prepared to respond to the problems caused by the tornadoes in part because of the Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response (EHTER) course developed by CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health.