TAKING ACTION: Hospital Asks Those Seeking Storm Shelter To Go Elsewhere

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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) -- When the skies turn dark over Decatur some residents rush to Decatur Morgan Hospital to seek shelter, but a new policy is discouraging people from coming there any longer.

Hospital officials tell us they changed policies recently to keep patients and their families safe and to "tighten up security after normal business hours."


WHNT News 19 was contacted by a viewer who says since the policy change he has been left without a safe place in his neighborhood to go during severe weather.

"If they put out tornado warnings or watches I will go to the courthouse or city hall for shelter, but during severe storms (thunderstorms) they do not open up those places," resident Edward Harrison says.

WHNT News 19 contacted Decatur city leaders and emergency managers about this situation. Decatur Police have agreed to open up the basement at city hall whenever anyone comes seeking shelter during storms even if a tornado warning or watch is not issued.

Hospital officials say they will never close their doors to anyone seeking shelter, but they do hope people try to use the official shelter and use their faculty as a last resort.

"We are just not set up as a shelter for the community, this was a practice that started years ago, and it just does not fit our capabilities any longer," hospital communication director Leigh Hayes says.

If you are looking for shelter in Decatur, City Hall is located at  402 Lee Street NE, Decatur, AL 35601.

The phone number is (256) 341-4500.