Safer Places bill to give Alabamians storm shelter options statewide

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 9:46 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The recently signed Safer Places bill will change the way Alabama residents take shelter during severe weather -- by making it easier.

After Governor Kay Ivey signed the bill, the clock began ticking for Safer Places to be identified across the state.

The Safer Places bill tasks emergency management associations and county commissions to identify buildings where people can shelter from severe weather.

“The reason this all happened is the realization that there will never be enough community shelters built,” said Jim Coker, director of Jefferson County’s EMA.

The list of designated buildings that meet a certain criteria will allow for people to find shelter close to home, or even traveling.

“If you’re in an area outside of your comfort zone and don’t know where a shelter might be, how do you find safety?” Coker posed.

Officials are ironing out the exact criteria for how buildings will be designated Safer Places.

“Brick and mortar, brick and concrete are going to be a lot better than a wood-framed house,” Coker explained.

They have one year to complete and compile the list, and for many, it can’t come soon enough, especially with so many storms this year so far.

No funding for community shelters will be impacted.

Copyright 2021 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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