Birmingham | As Alabamians continue recovering from the devastating tornadoes of April 27, public health authorities are exploring ways to lessen the overall destruction of lives and property in future disasters.

Storm survivors from north and central Alabama are being asked to assist by volunteering for a telephone survey which will be conducted beginning Jan. 9, 2012.

“We are committed to helping Alabama prepare for the future by increasing our capabilities to prevent injuries during storms,” State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson said. “We will greatly appreciate and value the cooperation and participation of persons who were directly impacted by the tornadoes.”

This effort is part of an ongoing collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epi-Aid response and the Alabama departments of Public Health and Mental Health to learn more about the benefits of underground shelters, as well as different types of housing construction and shelter locations.

Individuals whose home or property were damaged, persons injured in the storm, and survivors who were not injured are asked to either call ADPH toll free at 1-855-228-3777 or enter their contact information online at People who wish to participate will be asked for their name and telephone number and will be called back to schedule a 20- to 30-minute phone interview.

Interviewers will include volunteer students from Miles College, Tuskegee University, the University of South Alabama, and staff from the CDC. All surveyors will provide a telephone number for identity verification. The phone interview should take between 20 and 30 minutes to complete.

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