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Shelter Etowah is a partnership between the Gadsden/Etowah County Emergency Management Agency and participating local organizations to promote safe sheltering habits and provide a safe, temporary shelter from tornadoes for the residents of Etowah County.

On average, tornadoes account for seven deaths and 104 injuries per year in Alabama

The National Weather Service recommends the following with regards to sheltering from tornadoes:

  • Find a pre-determined shelter, such as a basement
  • Get on the lowest floor, in a small interior room such as a closet, bathroom or interior hallway
  • Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible
  • Stay away from windows and doors
  • Leave mobile homes for a sturdy building well in advance of severe weather.
  • Get under something sturdy, such as a heavy table, if available
  • Protect yourself from flying debris by using pillows, heavy coats, blankets or quilts
  • Use bicycle or motorcycle helmets to protect your head

Shelter Etowah does not involve the long-term opening of a building for mass care. It is only meant for short-term, severe weather sheltering.

  • Basically, we are looking for safe place for people to go during tornadoes.

Most calls received by the EMA from the public during times of severe weather are from people looking for a safe place to go when tornadic weather threatens their homes.

According to data from the US Census Bureau, 12% of the population of Etowah County live in mobile homes.

  • Mobile homes are not safe from tornadoes.  An EF-0 tornado (65-85 mph) can overturn an unsecured mobile home. An EF-2 tornado (111-135 mph) can completely destroy a mobile home.
  • Many site built homes are not fortified well enough to withstand a direct impact from a tornado.

What makes a good shelter area?

  • A brick building
  • Basement
  • Interior walls away from windows
  • At least 150 square feet
  • Good parking area