Shelter door locked accidentally

Published 5:28 pm Friday, January 27, 2012

Dear Editor,

This is a response to the comments that were printed in the paper about our storm shelter. I myself monitor the weather and have been unlocking the shelter early. In this incident, the shelter had been unlocked for around 12 hours before the first watch was posted.

The way the door handle is built on the shelter, someone trying to open the door will be prone to lock it before they get the latch open. By rules set forth by the Emergency Management Agency, the shelter must be kept locked until a watch is posted. Then, the shelter may be unlocked where citizens can come and get in the shelter.

The only time the shelter is to be manned by department officials is when a tornado warning occurs. In this case, someone had locked the shelter after it had been unlocked. The members of the department went to responding when the warning was issued. You have to have a little patience because we have to get our own families up and going as well. I myself was working when this took place, but I did have personnel on call.

As this is a volunteer department, there is no way you can just have one person scheduled to make sure the shelter is open. We as a department keep a close eye on weather issues, and we are determined to keep everyone in our area safe.

We strive to make everyone happy, but you’re never going to make that happen. I myself have been volunteering my time for about 18 years. My granddaddy was a key leader in these rural fire departments and volunteered his time for 20-plus years until he passed away. He always told me that in this business you will never be able to satisfy everyone and nobody will ever say “thank you;” they will always have something to complain about.

So in the best interest of your community, come on out. We have a membership application waiting for you to fill out, and you start volunteering your time. Until you do it, you should not be able to complain about how certain things need to be handled. Our meetings start at 6 p.m. on the first Monday in each month at Station 1, and the third Monday of every month at Station 2.

Again, we appreciate any and all support and will still be here helping people in need.

As for other county divisions, they get paid for their time and service, including (EMA Director) Bill Collum. This may just be misunderstood because we as rural volunteer fire departments do not.

Robin Ellison, Chief, Union Grove Fire Department