SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WAFF) - Easy access to nearby storm shelters is critical for many people who live in mobile homes or simply prefer a secure environment.
The courthouse is one of the main storm shelters in Jackson County, but 5 more will soon be added.
Since 2018, the Jackson County Emergency Management Department has been working to get more community shelters in the county.
EMA Director Paul Smith said his office was able to apply for a federal hazard mitigation grant to outfit existing structures like schools with safe areas.
“We’ve applied for that grant, and we will be able to place 5 additional community shelters at the K-12 schools. The reason we picked those schools they have a population of about 700 students and one storm shelter can hold about 250 and that’s cramming them in,” said Smith.
The schools include Pisgah, North Sand Mountain, Section, Skyline and Woodville. Smith said when the kids are not at the schools they will serve as community shelters during severe weather emergencies.
Most importantly, he said they will be a great benefit to people who live in rural areas.
“It’s a known issue in the State of Alabama, especially in the rural areas, a lot of people live in mobile homes and those are death traps during severe weather. So, we feel like if we can put additional shelters out in the county and folks would just use them, we feel like maybe we can prevent some injuries and save some lives,” said Smith.
Smith said right now the grant is being processed by FEMA.
Jackson County will have up to 39 shelters with the addition of those five schools. You can find a county-by-county breakdown of shelter locations near your neighborhood on the WAFF 48 website.