Alabamians install storm shelters - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Alabamians install storm shelters as severe weather season approaches

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SHELBY COUNTY - AL -

 

Across Central Alabama,  people are getting ready for the fast-approaching severe weather season. ABC 33/40's Storm Alert Tour traveled to Oxford. We talked about how to get ready for a storm and how to keep your family safe. Also along Highway 280, the National Weather Service and disaster relief groups are helping families prepare. Nearly 150 came for storm spotter training at North Shelby Baptist Church. For disaster relief groups, it's all about getting ready.

"We've gone in and seen many areas that have been ravaged with damage," Billy Graham, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Coordinator said. "We've seen loss of property and loss of life and we want to re-focus our ministry here to train people to be more aware of when an approaching storm is coming."

"We want to make sure people are prepared," Hub Harvey, Shelby County EMA Director said. "That they're thinking about what they would need if we do have severe weather."

Part of that preparation includes having a safe place to go. After the deadly April 2011 storms, Alabamians are digging deep.

"There's a lot of people who have been inquiring about storm shelters and where they can get them," Harvey said.

Those underground storm shelters may look small, but can hold 8-10 people and can withstand an EF-5 tornado. 

"We get anywhere from 20-30 calls a day," Bobby Ewing, Great American Storm Shelters said.

As severe weather season gets closer, the requests for shelters are going up.

"Constantly. We're constantly getting emails, calls, all day up into the evening, so it's a very busy time for us," Steve Swalley, Vulcan Storm Shelters said.

"There's been houses ripped apart and the box is still there," Ewing said. "And they come out and have nothing left."

Businesses across the state are building them, too.

"Our calls come in from the Tennessee line, as far down south as Mobile, we were in Tuscaloosa today, we'll be in Huntsville tomorrow," Swalley said.

Disaster relief groups say now is the time to plan.

"We wanted to change our focus from going out after a disaster to preparedness before the disaster," Graham said.

 

 

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