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Local EMA officials say registering a safe room can get help quicker after damaging severe weather

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- A simple task on your end could mean the difference between responders knowing where to find you after a damaging severe weather event and waiting on help.

When there's a tornado warning for Marshall County, Leonard Kubik and his wife head to their safe room installed in their garage. It was put in after the 2011 tornado outbreak.  "We thought we really need to be safer," he explained.

A safe room is built to a series of FEMA standards.  Kubik registered his with local officials, which is something Marshall County Emergency Management Agency director Anita McBurnett wants other people with safe rooms to do, to let them know where it is before a tornado hits.  "There may be so much debris they can't get out of it, so by registering it the EMA and the fire department, the local fire department that serves their area, knows that they have a safe room and that will be an area that we'll check," McBurnett explained.

You'll need a small amount of information to register.   An important piece of that process includes the street address where your safe room is located and the latitude-longitude coordinates, which can be found by using a searchable free app on a smartphone, in the event that landmarks, street signs, and address signs are lost in a storm. The information gathered through the registration process is kept confidential and will not be shared with individuals, companies or other agencies.

"We'll know that location and make sure to check out that residence," McBurnett said.

You can follow this link to register.