Residents concerned about lack of storm shelters
JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Safety concerns rise as Jonesboro residents look for ways to stay safe during storms, but residents are coming up empty-handed.
The city does not have an official storm shelter for residents to go to, as communications director Bill Campbell said there is no demand.
“The honest truth is we’ve done this for years and we’ve only had one person show up, ever,” he said. “We are going to continue to provide that because you don’t know who is going to need it. But there is not a demand.”
Multiple posts on social media disagreed, as residents were asking around if storm shelters were available.
One woman said it would give her some peace during the storm.
“Nerve-racking, especially for someone like me who has small children that I am worried about, is my house going to hold up,” said resident Alaynna Rusell.
When threats of severe weather appear, people start to search for ways to keep safe, and Rusell did just that this week.
“I did ask if there were any local shelters and there weren’t any. The only thing that was available was schools and Valley View has a tunnel underground,” she said.
Rusell said knowing there are not many options for her and her family is scary.
Campbell said the Earl Bell Community Center and the Municipal building are open to the public during work hours, but he added opening a shelter during severe weather is tricky.
“If a tornado is coming for us, you really don’t have time to get out in your car. That is not really a good idea,” he said.
Rusell said it could help if the two options were open longer for people to have time to get in place.
“There definitely should be something open for a long period of time and if nothing happens then cool, but if it is people can come and have some type of security knowing that they are safe,” she said.
Campbell said the best option for residents is to stay at home or at school.
“We recommend sheltering in place, find an interior room, get in the bathroom and put a mattress over your head, get in an interior closet,” he said.
Campbell also added if the weather gets really bad, the city could possibly open places like Parker Park, but that’s unlikely.
“If the facilities are open, they are welcome. But we do not want to put our staff in harm’s way in that same situation,” he said.
The Salvation Army is always open for people during various weather events.
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