As you may have seen on our evolution of emergency management page, emergency management started out as Civil Defense back in the 1950s. By 1961 the City of Tuscaloosa had a civil defense program which served the whole county and was directed by Sam Salone who grew the program as the department moved around city hall. Sirens Sam left Tuscaloosa County Civil Defense to become the state of Alabama EMA Director.
Richard M. Pierce whom of which the current road is named after that our building is located on -------- Started cable TV emergency broadcasting in Tuscaloosa County for Emergency warnings. Got 911 up and going in Tuscaloosa county and became its first 911 Director. Started LEPC in Tuscaloosa County. First to get a mobile communications vehicle for the county.
Ron Hampel saw EMA during the scare during Y2K and September 9 2001, he helped plan and manage City Fest which took place in the early 2000s. Started the first hazard mitigation Plan for Tuscaloosa County. Became the first Homeland Security Point of Contact for Tuscaloosa County. Hosted the first state wide LEPC training conference in Tuscaloosa. First Director to start Flood (2005) and Strom Ready (2000).
David Hartin continued to increase the outdoor warnings system and upgrading them to 2-way letting them report back their status. oversaw the upgrade and the move of the EOC in the Curry building. took on the roll for Alabama department of public health region 3. He started with local ADPH the first drive through flu clinic used and a exercise for both agencies. He first oversaw the implementation for first responders to submit and track first responder organizations in our county. Hosted a whistle stop tour as part of the railroad safety and training for industry and first responders. Displace by the April 27th 2011 Tornado and awarded the storm shelter grants for the individual shelters more than doubling the individual shelters in the county.
Rob Robertson became director in 2015 where he started TuscALERT. He also spearheaded using GIS in emergency management. He stared and planed the new Hardy Meculum Emergency operations center which is where EMA, 911, and other agencies house their dispatches. He was also in the first graduating class of Alabama Public Safety Leadership Academy at the Alabama Fire College. He started the funding of community shelters in rural areas that did not receive funds from a hazard mitigation grant.
Nick Lolley is the first Director to work in the new EOC and bring it up to date with the latest technology. In an effort to expand diversity, Director Lolley hired the first black minority to work for emergency management in Tuscaloosa County. Worked with local industry to get mobile freezers to for the dispencing of vacines during the COVID-19 Pandamic. He also oversaw the sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine for citizens that did not have the ability or know how to sign up. Oversaw the update and the first contract for matanice for the 72 county wide sirens.
EMA is working to assemble a history of Tuscaloosa County EMA which has served the community in various forms since the Cold War era. Please check back soon.
Staffing at EMA changed over the years as well as Technology
ALEM advance level emergency manager
CLEM certified emergency manager from international emergency manager
MELEM master level emergency managers
EMA Directors over Time:
Samuel B. Salone, ????-1979
Richard M. Pierce, 1979-1995
Ron Hampel, ALEM, 1999-2005
David Hartin, CLEM, CEM, MLEM, 2005-2014
Rob Robertson, CLEM, 2015-2019
Nick Lolley, CLEM, 2019-Present
The April 27, 2011, tornado destroyed the EMA facility on 35th Street, and after a few interim stops, the agency reestablished operations at the former Alabama Fire College/Fire Logistics building next to Snow Hinton Park on McFarland Boulevard East. Planning commenced soon afterward to work toward rebuilding a permanent, improved structure.
After being operated by the City of Tuscaloosa for more than 30 years, EMA transferred back to the Tuscaloosa County Commission on January 1, 2015. In June 2015, EMA moved to the Tuscaloosa County Public Works building on 35th Street, just west of the previously destroyed location.
In October 2018, EMA made a final move to a new, state-of-the-art, hardened facility located in Northport. The Public Works location has become a backup operating location. The new facility also serves as the consolidated, multi-agency 911 dispatching center, an exciting first for Tuscaloosa County.