FEMA funds storm shelters for Russell County residents - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

FEMA funds storm shelters for Russell County residents

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email 

RUSSELL COUNTY, AL (WTVM) -  Just a few months ago tornadoes ripped through the south, leaving a path of destruction through Alabama. After that tragedy, the state is taking steps at keeping residents safe against future storms.

Russell County Homeland Security Director William Alexander said, "We hope we never have to encounter a storm of the magnitude we saw back in April, but unfortunately, we can't predict that. If that magnitude of a storm approaches the citizens of Russell County, I think it is imperative and important to safeguard yourself and your family."

Alexander says an indoor safety shelter has already been installed and used at the Russell County Emergency Management Department, "As you can see, it's made out of steel, so it's very durable and it has been tested in the past and it works."

While it may not be practical to install an indoor shelter, there are other options, like the underground room, and the county is looking for ways to help you pay for them.

"Citizens in Alabama can qualify for additional funding from FEMA to purchase the individual safe rooms. The homeowner would have to incur the cost up front, and get reimbursed by FEMA by up to 75 percent," Alexander told News Leader 9.

The families would pay $6,000 to have one installed and no matter what kind of damage is caused above ground, your family will stay safe.

"We would like to see these near mobile home parks as well as senior citizen buildings and so that's what we're looking for in the future," said William Alexander.

The EMA has applied for twelve FEMA grants, and Alexander says if they are approved, it will be a huge step in the right direction for keeping residents safe, "In the event of inclement weather approaching our community or an individual's home, then those families can go into the shelter and be protected from the storm."

The official FEMA grant applications will be filed in September. Right now Russell County is trying to see how many households would be interested in buying a shelter.

To sign up, or get more information on the storm shelters, you can visit www.stormshelter.com, call them at 1-800-462-3648 or call the Russell County EMA at 334-291-5079.

Copyright 2011 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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