Colbert County just got a new community storm shelter on the east end of the county.
The new shelter is located next to Abbie Baptist Church off East Sixth Street near Leighton. Colbert County Emergency Management Director Michael David Smith said they chose this location to put the new shelter so it could serve more people in the area.
"Members of the community were involved to try and determine the best places to put these things that incorporate not only the most people in the community but also to make sure it met all the requirements of the funding coming through FEMA," said Smith.
Smith said they got the grant money to install the shelter but ongoing maintenance will fall on the county, which is a small price to pay for safety in tornado season.
"Having these shelters in place that are owned and operated by the county does give us the ability to know for sure we will have shelters available for the people and we don't have to depend on anyone else to get a shelter open," said Smith.
Smith said the county has four large community shelters that can hold hundreds, then 22 of these smaller shelters that can hold dozens he says while it's hard to calculate exactly how many people use them they know it's a lot.
"There are many, many times that we get calls that it's overflowing and people standing outside because there are so many people using the shelters, so we feel like it's nothing but a blessing for the community," said Smith.
Smith said it could take a couple of months to have the shelter fully operational because they've got to get electricity and running water hooked to it.
Before anyone can use the shelter the state will come out and inspect it to make sure it's up to all state codes and is handicapped accessible.