MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Marshall County EMA is making sure the county is ready well in advance of severe weather season, and asking for the community’s help to do so.
As Marshall County EMA director, it’s Anita McBurnett’s job to make sure the EMA and the county’s residents are ready to hand any severe weather. It’s only January, but McBurnett and other county officials are already looking months ahead. “We have kicked off our 2014 Shelter Ready Marshall County,” McBurnett says.
It’s a program that has the EMA asking for community organization’s help. “Such as churches, and others who may have a basement in their facility that might be willing to make it available of places of safe refuge,” McBurnett says.
The EMA director says the goal this year is to get more of these organizations to sign up, so when tornado warnings are issued the county’s residents have a full list of safe places to go. “They can take time to practice, and find out how long it takes to get to the shelter from their home.”
This isn’t the only way Marshall County is getting ready for severe storm season. “We’ve got 59 sirens now, throughout the county,” Marshall County Commission Chair James Hutcheson says.
Those extra sirens will be used for the first time this storm season. A FEMA grant made the new additions possible. “This year we got eight community shelters, 20 sirens and 106 individual shelters,” Hutcheson says.
With those new additions and the EMA’s work to involve the community, the goal is the county will be ready for whatever comes its way.
The EMA is asking organizations whose buildings would be applicable to the program’s specifications to call the center at (256) 571 – 7329. An official will come to the location to verify it can be used. The deadline for to volunteer your building is the middle of February. McBurnett says they hope to have a full list by March first.