MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – Leaders in Madison are testing out their newest storm shelters built inside James Clemens High School.
After dismissing students early, Madison Mayor Troy Trulock worked with Madison School officials to open the school to anyone who needs a safe place to ride out the storms.
The school was built with two safe rooms to accommodate students.
After what happened in North Alabama nearly three years ago to the date, city leaders made decisions to be better prepared.
“Because of April 27th of 2011, we realized we didn’t have a storm shelter, certified storm shelter capability in the city of Madison,” said Trulock.
That’s why he coordinated with the leaders of the school district to utilize the two tornado shelters built at James Clemens High School, with full support of the principal.
“Safety is our number one concern or whether we’re in school or whether we’re out of school,” said Brian Clayton, principal of James Clemens High School.
Clayton showed off the rooms. One is the gymnasium, the other is the auditorium.
“Reinforced walls where they will sustain a wind of up to 250 miles an hour, so we’re very excited about that from the standpoint of safety,” said Clayton. “It’s a comforting feeling, from an administration’s standpoint, to have this available.”
He was happy to share that feeling with people who don’t have a sturdy place to go.
Together, the two rooms can accomodate about 2,000 people and even pets that are crated.
“It’s a temporary shelter,” said Trulock. “It’s not overnight. It’s not longterm. We do have some bathrooms and some water, but it’s really just designed to get you through the difficult times of potential tornadoes and then release folks back to their homes.”
He added people must leave at midnight because if there isn’t a lot of damage done to Madison, students will be expected to return to school at 7:00am for class Tuesday morning.
People are welcome to bring pets, if they are crated.
Trulock also said that if the event turns out to be devastating to the area, two places have volunteered to provide shelter for those impacted.
Asbury United Methodist Church, located at 980 Hughes Road; and Inside Out Ministry, located off Wall Triana Highway at 103 Gin Oaks Court will both be open after the storm to provide the necessities for anyone impacted. They’ll provide food, drink, bathrooms, showers and a place to sleep for survivors of the storms that need it.