Marshall Co. warming centers will be available during stretches of low temperatures

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — We’ve had some chilly temperatures lately but true cold weather will be headed our way soon. When that happens warming centers open in Marshall County to give people a place to go if they need it.

Warming centers started in larger cities as a way to help the homeless population during the cold months. In Marshall County, the Emergency Management Agency coordinates them on a lower scale. “They’re basically a place where you can go in and sit down and get warm if you have a situation where you don’t have heat in your home,” explained director Anita McBurnett.

The EMA coordinates a list of available places that are designated warming centers. “A lot of our libraries and public facilities are available for that,” explained McBurnett.

The centers give people a temporary place to stay for a few hours a day. They become available when the highs are below the 40s and the lows are below freezing. “If we have a series of those days then we’ll start calling those partner facilities and say ‘hey, we’d like to go ahead and announce that the facility is going to be available as a warming center’,” McBurnett explained.

The EMA coordinates with places like churches, libraries and senior centers to be available as warming centers. They’re open during normal business hours and available for people to come and have a warm place to stay during the day.

You can call and ask the individual centers if you can bring food or drinks. You can also ask about your pet.

The EMA will announce the list in advance of a cold snap, and we’ll make sure to post it online and on our app. The Room in the Inn program in Marshall County is available as an overnight place to stay.