More Storm Shelters Planned For Franklin County
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – It has been more than a year since the devastating tornado outbreak in Northwest Alabama and counties continue working to get more protection for residents.
The Franklin County Emergency Management Agency was awarded a grant for ten more community storm shelters to do just that.
With the grant from FEMA, 4 shelters that hold 80 people will be spread throughout the county, plus 6 others that hold 48 people.
That’s about 600 more spaces for people to go, when a storm rolls through. However, Franklin County EMA Director, Roy Gober says, in an emergency, people can stretch the protective walls of these shelters to hold many more.
“I guarantee you if an F5 tornado is bearing down on you, you can sit on the floor, you can stand, you can scrunch more people in there,” said Gober.
Already existing storm shelters in the county’s bigger towns of Red Bay, Vina, Russellville, Hodges and Phil Campbell make room for another 560 people to seek shelter.
“I’m not saying they all have enough but they have a place for people to go,” said Gober.
According to Gober, he will keep working to get more shelters for the county, however Gober says, with such a scattered population, it’s difficult to get FEMA on board for more shelters, in the most rural of areas.
“If you don`t have but 50 people in a half mile or so, you can’t put in one that houses 80 people because it would never get approved,” said Gober.
But Gober says, since last April’s storms, many people are making the effort to protect themselves with personal storm shelters, making up for some of the deficit, community shelters can’t meet.
The Franklin County Emergency Management Agency received $660,000 to go towards the community shelters.
The county must match 25 percent of those funds.