EMA reminds residents of shelters

Published 1:38 pm Friday, February 17, 2012

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley talks with television reporters while touring the Maplesville storm shelter Jan. 24 with State Rep. Kurt Wallace (right) and State Sen. Cam Ward. About 140 people rode out the Jan. 23 storm inside the shelter.

Chilton County residents were fortunately spared any serious injuries associated with the Jan. 23 tornadoes.

For that to be the case the next time severe weather strikes, county Emergency Management Agency Director Bill Collum wants to remind residents of the locations of the county’s six storm shelters:

•Clanton City Hall. 505 Second Ave. N., Clanton.

•Maplesville. 120 Railroad St., Maplesville.

•Enterprise Fire Station. 6162 County Road 24, Verbena.

•West Chilton Fire Station. 2678 County Road 42, Jemison.

•Union Grove Fire Station. 11638 County Road 51, Jemison.

•East Chilton Fire Station. 5640 County Road 28, Clanton.

Locations of Chilton County’s six storm shelters. View Storm shelters in a larger map

“We had a couple of calls last week, people saying, ‘I live in this place, so where is the closest shelter to me,’” Collum said. “During the tornadoes, we had people drive by the East Chilton shelter to get to the one in Clanton.”

The operational shelters listed above should not be confused with shelters planned to be opened in the future.

Collum said paperwork has been filed for those shelters, but they must be approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“I feel like they will (approve the shelters),” he said. “I don’t know if they’ll approve all of them, but I think they’ll approve at least some of them.”

Federal disaster mitigation funds related to the tornadoes last month should also help with the construction of the planned shelters, Collum said.

All shelters are opened upon issuance of a Tornado Watch and are manned in the event of a Tornado Warning.

Collum said that while Chilton County residents received Individual Assistance to help recover from the storms, the county did not receive Public Assistance, which would have reimbursed local government agencies for overtime worked by police officers and to clean up debris. He said some residents have piled debris by the road, expecting the county or local municipalities to pick up the debris.

“I know a lot of people were expecting that to happen, but it’s not going to happen,” Collum said. “People will have to dispose of their own debris because we didn’t get a grant for that.”