Lee County EMA working towards public storm shelter

LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) -  When severe weather comes through our area many people look for a place to go for shelter.

Lee County Emergency Management Agency Director, Katherine Carson, says the agency is looking to give Lee County a storm shelter.

"If you look around at different counties, having a public tornado shelter isn't necessarily that common of a thing," Carson said.

The shelter would be funded by a FEMA grant in hopes of lessening the odds for disaster in the future.

This time last year, nine tornadoes made an appearance in the county and Carson said it's crucial to make sure everyone has a place to be safe.

"What we need to do is find a safer location for people especially in mobile homes," Carson said.

Lee County local Phyllis Bryant said she's experienced tornadoes first hand and typically goes to a friends house or another location for shelter so the addition of a public shelter would be a game changer for her when disaster strikes.

"I'm one that lives in a trailer and when storms or tornadoes come, we don't have anywhere to go," Bryant said.  "I think that'll be a great idea and it's somewhere we can go to be safe."

The grant could be up to $108,000 and could host anywhere from 45 to 90 people.

Lee County EMA said they are still searching for a spot to build the shelter, and even though one shelter wouldn't hold the entire county, it's a step forward in working towards more shelters in different spots convenient throughout the area.

"In the future, we could possibly have more opportunities for grants like this and we would take advantage of that, but we have to start somewhere," Carson said.

The EMA is in an ongoing study to determine a location which would best fit a shelter of the county's need.

While this shelter is not up yet, the Lee County EMA said they work with local faith-based groups in setting up temporary shelters during times of severe weather.

Copyright 2018 WTVM. All rights reserved. | For more news, download the WTVM app here.