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GET ANSWERS: Severe Weather Shelters in Macon

6:49 PM, Feb 21, 2011   |    comments
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Tornado season is quickly approaching, and it's important to know what to do when severe weather hits.

Liz from Macon wrote to us asking, "Do we have severe weather shelters for families and people in Macon?"

"There's about 55-60,000 telephone numbers for home phones in the county that we can actually send out a message that there's an event happening that we want you to take action," says Donald Druitt, Director of the Macon-Bibb Emergency Management Agency.

Macon-Bibb EMA Director, Donald Druitt, says a new code red program gets the word out about evacuating your home and finding a shelter.

He says there's 49 shelters across Macon with the capacity to house nearly 30,000 people.

Druitt says those shelters consist of schools, churches, recreational facilities, and community centers.

He says Vineville United Methodist Church is one of the city's larger shelters, with room for about 1,100 people. He says depending on the emergency-- which can range from a hazardous spill to a statewide power outage--determines which and how many of those shelters they open.

"We would probably try to make sure we had shelters designated for that particular part of the county, so people wouldn't have to travel very far," says Druitt.

He says, they choose shelters that give each person a 4 x 10 space, like the Macon Centreplex, which could hold 4 thousand people.

They also look for confined spaces away from windows, like school hallways.

"We could use a gymnasium after an event to house people on the gym floor, but primarily in the hallways and in corridors where they're away from windows where the wind won't send debris through," says Druitt.

Druitt also says you can also use a basement with no windows as shelter.

He says they try to clear confusion by not publishing the list of shelters before hand because they aren't sure which will be open until the actual emergency.

He says if there's severe weather, you can call 911 or your local Emergency Management Agency to find the closest open shelter.

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