Batesville Fire Dept. opens doors to public during severe weather

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Independence County is still under a tornado watch.

However, residents can rest assured. The Batesville Fire Department has a safe room open 24/7 for the public's use during severe weather.

"We want everybody to know that we have this location available and if you're driving by and you decide it's too bad to drive on, just come right on in," Chief Brent Gleghorn said. "If you get scared, the doors will be unlocked during bad weather. Just come and hang out with us. This is what it's for. It's for the community. The community provided the money for this building and absolutely they're welcome in it any time."

Chief Gleghorn said 12-inch concrete blocks surround the room and an eight-inch concrete roof seals it off from potential harm.

"The community would be safe here in any severe weather," Gleghorn said. "I would feel very comfortable here. I'm here every day, but I would still feel safe in this room. It wouldn't bother me in the least. I have brought my family here before."

The safe room also has access to phones and electricity, even if the power would go out in the city.

"We have backup generators here so if the power goes out, you're not going to be out of power," Gleghorn said. "As long as it doesn't blow and tear the cable up, we'll still have television where we can watch the weather."

If the community needs to take shelter in a safe room, Gleghorn said to bring food, drinks and any medicine a person would need.

"We want you to make yourself at home while you're here," Gleghorn said. "Be comfortable. It's for them as much as it's for the fire department."

Chief Gleghorn said do not wait till the last minute to find a safe place during severe weather.

"If I had a place to go, I would get there early," Gleghorn said.

If anyone would like to stay in the department's safe room, that location is 590 White Dr. in Batesville.

Copyright 2014 KAIT. All rights reserved.