The lobby inside the Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency features a radiant mural illustrating just a few of the disasters they handle.
In the middle, a brightly colored figure renders medical aid. It’s the Samaritans, like the one depicted, that benefit from new legislation.
HB364 extends good Samaritan protections to people who offer refuge from severe weather.
Because, as the EMA’s Bill Sizemore points out, when storms roll in, a good shelter can be life or death.
Sizemore promotes the importance of shelter in the face of severe weather, “If your home gets hit and you have a safe room, then you have a good opportunity to protect yourself from that.”
Now, any person or group who offers shelter during a storm will only have to worry about looming weather. If they offer up shelter in good faith, they can forget about lawsuits.
Sizemore says, “I would hope they wouldn’t need that, but limiting the liability for doing that would definitely be a good thing.”
So, neighbors of all kinds can offer open doors without fear.
Sizemore adds, “I would think that it would help anyone who has a substantial building or something that they might be more willing to invite others in.”
For now, HB364 sits in the judiciary committee. The bill builds on current state laws protecting people who offer aid in other life-threatening situations.