Question about storm shelters during COVID-19 (1 Viewer)


Gail

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A lot of our public shelters are at schools, many of which are currently closed for COVID-19. In the event of severe weather during these closures and CDC recommendations of less than 50 gathering in one place, do you think the public shelters will open?
 

WesL

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I was always taught that imminent danger takes priority. Survive today so you can survive tomorrow type thing.
 

Gail

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I was always taught that imminent danger takes priority. Survive today so you can survive tomorrow type thing.
Thanks. I just realized we’re heading into our prime tornado season just as the schools are closing. My oldest son’s school has already gone to online only for the remainder of the school year.
 

WesL

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Thanks. I just realized we’re heading into our prime tornado season just as the schools are closing. My oldest son’s school has already gone to online only for the remainder of the school year.
I think it is a great question. Let's see if @HazardousWx can chime in.
 

Lori

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Full Statement from NWS and Alabama Department of Public Health concerning seeking shelter during COVID-19 national emergency.

The decision to seek shelter in a community storm shelter is certainly made more difficult by the consideration for COVID-19, and each individual will need to make an educated decision on where and when to shelter from a tornado.
At this time, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is recommending that your first priority should be to protect yourself from a potential tornado. If a warning is issued for your area, you are more likely to be affected by the tornado than the virus.
However, the decisions to open any community shelters are done at the local or county level. Before you make a decision to go to a community shelter, you should check with your community shelter managers to ensure they are open, and if there are any local COVID-19 considerations. Certainly, wherever you choose to shelter from a tornado, you should use as many precautions as possible to inhibit the spread of COVID-19 as best as you can. If you rely on public community shelters, now may be the time to explore other options that might keep you safer from severe weather and possibly limit your exposure to COVID-19.
The best way to prepare for this potential scenario is to keep up with the latest weather forecast as well as the latest recommendations regarding COVID-19 from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the ADPH, and local authorities.

**Admin/WesL Edit - Replaced graphic with full text of the statement
 
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Lori

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I have some masks from when my daughter had Type A flu, I think I’ll make sure the most vulnerable in our shelter wears one.
 

JayF

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Here is what the Hartselle Police Department put out regarding using Hartselle High School as a shelter.


Hartselle High School will be open in the event of a Tornado Warning. However, there will be special guidelines in place to protect our community as well as the First Responders who will be staffing the facility.

By entering, you are acknowledging that you are aware of and are voluntarily going against the recommendation provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for being in groups of 10 or less. We will not be able to guarantee the recommended social distancing of 6 feet or more. No person under quarantine or who has tested positive for the COVID 19 virus may enter the shelter. Also, we reserve the right to refuse to allow persons displaying symptoms of the COVID 19 virus the right to remain inside the shelter. Under the direction of FEMA, shelters will be open, enter at your own risk. This notice will also be posted at the shelter.


Hartselle High Storm Shelter Guidelines:
• Citizens will be required to wait inside their vehicles in the parking lot of the school during an active Tornado Watch.
• The shelter will only be opened when a Tornado Warning is anticipated.
• Citizens are advised to enter the shelter at their own risk and there is no guarantee the six-foot distancing rule will be possible. Warning signs will be posted.
• Citizens must sign an entry log in case there is a future need to notify of potential exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID 19.
• Only the hallway portion of the shelter will be utilized unless crowds exceed capacity. Please bring a bag chair if prolonged standing is a concern.
• Citizens are encouraged to bring their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer.
• NO PETS are allowed.
• We highly encourage the public to seek alternative shelter options that don’t pose the risks associated with large gatherings while there is still adequate time to plan ahead.
• Anyone refusing directives of any official will be removed.
 

WesL

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Here is what the Hartselle Police Department put out regarding using Hartselle High School as a shelter.


Hartselle High School will be open in the event of a Tornado Warning. However, there will be special guidelines in place to protect our community as well as the First Responders who will be staffing the facility.

By entering, you are acknowledging that you are aware of and are voluntarily going against the recommendation provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for being in groups of 10 or less. We will not be able to guarantee the recommended social distancing of 6 feet or more. No person under quarantine or who has tested positive for the COVID 19 virus may enter the shelter. Also, we reserve the right to refuse to allow persons displaying symptoms of the COVID 19 virus the right to remain inside the shelter. Under the direction of FEMA, shelters will be open, enter at your own risk. This notice will also be posted at the shelter.


Hartselle High Storm Shelter Guidelines:
• Citizens will be required to wait inside their vehicles in the parking lot of the school during an active Tornado Watch.
• The shelter will only be opened when a Tornado Warning is anticipated.
• Citizens are advised to enter the shelter at their own risk and there is no guarantee the six-foot distancing rule will be possible. Warning signs will be posted.
• Citizens must sign an entry log in case there is a future need to notify of potential exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID 19.
• Only the hallway portion of the shelter will be utilized unless crowds exceed capacity. Please bring a bag chair if prolonged standing is a concern.
• Citizens are encouraged to bring their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer.
• NO PETS are allowed.
• We highly encourage the public to seek alternative shelter options that don’t pose the risks associated with large gatherings while there is still adequate time to plan ahead.
• Anyone refusing directives of any official will be removed.
That is about as a well thought out plan as you could have given the situation. Hope other locations that have decided just not to open take note.
 

Mike S

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That is about as a well thought out plan as you could have given the situation. Hope other locations that have decided just not to open take note.
Exactly what I was going to say and the folks running the Athen High School shelter should take note
 

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