Community storm shelters to be constructed in Walker County

Many communities installed storm shelters after the April 27th, 2011 tornados. But people in some communities are still waiting for construction to start.

There aren't many options for people in Walker County, but thanks to a federal grant that's about to change. In fact, 21 are set to be built around the county, but because we've had such active weather this year, construction had to be put off.


"It hits real close to home," Robert Corral, who lives in Walker County said. "I lost some friends in that."Robert Corral, is like many in Walker County. After April 27, 2011 - they realized the need for storm shelters."A lot of those people didn't have anywhere to go," Corral said. "And now, they've got somewhere they can go and it's long overdue."This is where those calls for help went. Walker County's E-911 director told us, there's been no community shelter."We seem to get hit just about every time there is a tornado outbreak," Roger Wilson, E911 Walker County said.This year, construction will begin on 21 shelters - with room for 100 people in each."The areas we have put them, in places where you have mobile homes, parks close by, so that will give them quick access," Wilson said."We need them, after April 27, it showed us we need those storm shelters, so I hope they come soon and we can tolerate the weather until they get them built!" Natasha Vance, a Walker County resident said."It's great," Charles Phillips, another resident said. "A lot of people don't have anywhere to go, so it's great."While community storm shelters are going in, others are adding protection at home.'Right now, we're getting 5-10 calls per day," Steve Swalley, Vulcan Storm Shelters said.Steve Swalley owns Vulcan Storm Shelters - he said after the April 2011 storms, the phone started ringing from homeowners and businesses across the state."They're thinking more about it everyday particularly with tonight's coming - people are saying 'how quick can you get here?'" Swalley said."It's a real need for it around here," Jerrell Vance, a resident said. "If nothing else, April 27th taught us that - we need to be prepared."


Construction on the first two of the 21 storm shelters will begin this coming Monday, they will be able to withstand an EF-5 tornado.