Tornado in Alabama; how to help?


Updated: 3/4/19 4:30 p.m. EST

Seven minutes, imagine having only seven minutes to seek shelter because a tornado is approaching. That is what residents in Lee County, Alabama experienced yesterday. Today rescuers sift through rubble and destroyed homes after a powerful tornado left 23 people dead, including children. That death toll could rise as more victims are found.

Remember natural disasters can affect us at any moment and we have to be ready. Please take a moment to review our Preparedness plan and work on it; you don’t know when you’ll need it. 

If you were affected by the tornado and are …

In a life-threatening situation

  • Call 911 – due to the heavy volume of calls, be sure to stay on the line until your call can be answered.

In need of disaster assistance

  • Call the American Red Cross at 877-500-8645.
  • Looking for a shelter? A live map of open shelters from the American Red Cross can be found here.
  • Help for People with Disabilities. Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies helps people with disabilities and the elderly to safety and provide immediate needs for durable medical equipment and supplies hotline: 1-800-626-4949.


  • The Red Cross is encouraging you to list yourself as “Safe and Well.
  • You can mark yourself safe on Facebook
  • Join the Beyond Type 1 app for iOS + Android (also accessible on desktop) – connect with other individuals and families impacted by Type 1 diabetes. The “Find Members Near Me” feature can be especially helpful for finding folks who may be able to support with everything from stress to supplies.

Type 1 diabetes reminders for natural disasters

  • Identify yourself as someone who has diabetes
  • Stay hydrated
  • Keep emergency supplies with you to treat hypoglycemia
  • Secure insulin If you can get to a pharmacy, it’s the best way to access your medicines or get emergency supplies. A list of open pharmacies can be found here. You can search for open pharmacies HERE.

Storing Insulin & Discarding Sharps

Resources from device and supply companies –

  • Lilly Answers Center – Call 1-800-545-5979 if you need assistance with insulin or other medicine that has been damaged or destroyed by the storm.
  • Medtronic Storm Hotline – Call 1-800-646-4633 ext 64545. For more information, visit here.
  • Omnipod users – Podders needing supplies can contact customer care team at 800-591-3455.  We have been notified that local representatives in affected areas will have additional supplies.

Local Assistance


  • Smiths Station Volunteer Fire Department

50 Lee Road #430 Smiths Station, AL

Smiths Station Volunteer Fire Department is providing assistance with shelter and other umnet needs

  • Providence Baptist Church

2807 Lee County Road 166 Opelika, AL

Providence church is feeding first responders, tornado victims and volunteers. The church also has cots for displaced families.

  • Greene Hill on Auburn University

1130 Wire Road Auburn, AL

  • Draughn Library on Auburn University’s Campus

231 Mell Street Auburn, AL

Crisis Counseling

The Red Cross has set up a Disaster Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5590) for those seeking help with the mental and emotional effects of the storm.  The helpline is open 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

“People seeking emotional help in the aftermath of a disaster can now call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 and begin the process of recovery.” The helpline can also be accessed at

Displaced Animals

Opelika Animal Hospital is offering boarding services to displaced animals at no charge, according to the group’s Facebook page. You can find contact information here.

If you want to help …

  • You can donate to the American Red Cross of East Alabama, which is providing shelter, food and water for the families.
  • You can also give to the Alabama Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund which provides money to families in the long run after disaster strikes.
  • If you live in the area, you can list yourself “safe and well” on the Red Cross website or call the Family Connect line at (866) 535-5654.
  • Donate insulin + test strips – Insulin For Life USA aids those living with diabetes by supplying life-saving insulin and other supplies. In order to continue to provide emergency supplies, Insulin for Life is specifically requesting the following:
    • Insulin (unopened, not expired)
    • Test strips (of any variety)

Send supplies to:

2555 SW 76th Street Suite 130,

Gainesville FL 32608

(352) 327-8649