Jefferson County increased construction of storm shelters after April 27th 2011

New storm shelters

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - One of the hard lessons from April 27th was the need for storm shelters in Jefferson County and across Alabama.

It was a day that left many shaken and caused a serious realization that something had to be done to protect people from similar tornado outbreaks. Tuesday, the anniversary of the April 27th tornado, Fultondale dedicated its latest storm shelter to keep protect people from severe weather. That day was an important lesson for Jefferson County leaders.

“On April 27th, that afternoon we knew we had to do something to protect our citizens in such a catastrophe,” said Jimmie Stephens, Jefferson County Commissioner.

Since 2011 the county has built 17 storm shelters with the help of federal funds. The goal is to build three shelters a year setting aside about a million dollars.

“If you live in a mobile home or a manufactured structure type home, you need to get out in the case of an emergency and that is what these storm shelters are for. They are strategically placed around the county,” said Stephens.

Stephens added there is a demand for storm shelters but they can not build enough to protect everyone in Jefferson County. Stephens suggested homeowners need to look at building safe rooms as another method to keep their families safe.

“What we are attempting to do in building these shelters is providing our citizens options to get out of harm’s way.” Stephens said.

The county’s message and EMA’s message is working. Stephens said he has seen four new shelters in this district filled with a hundred people when weather turned severe. This is what the county wants to see in other areas.

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