Strong storms swept across the country Friday evening, leaving a path of destruction in West Tennessee and nine dead in neighboring McNairy County, 15 total in Tennessee. With each round of storms, comfort and safety can seem unattainable for some. Those who do not have a safe room or storm shelter within their own home or property have options within the Chester County community.
The basement of Henderson City Hall is always open when needed. The entrance is on the north side of the building (the side that faces the post office), with double metal doors marked “Storm Shelter,” next to the Police Department entrance. If the door is locked, anyone can call dispatch at 989-2201 for a City Police Officer to unlock the shelter. City Hall is currently undergoing renovations and the Storm Shelter is being used for storage and materials. More room will be available upon completion of the project. At this time there are approximately 75-100 chairs available, as well as male and female restrooms. Lighting is connected to the City Hall generator and should provide light during a power outage. Free public wireless internet is available. Pets are not permitted.
Also inside the city limits, the Public Safety Building (behind the courthouse) is also open for shelter during storms. Pets are not permitted.
Other storm shelters include Deanburg Fire Department on the west side of the county, Sweetlips Fire Department in eastern Chester County and Milledgeville for the Enville area. According to Chester County Emergency Management Agency Director Brandon Connor, other fire departments, community centers and several churches also open their basements up for shelter. Connor recommends citizens check with locations near their homes, in advance, to determine which are open to the community, noting that many often post on their Facebook page to indicate when it is open.
“I would ask everyone in our county to have a family plan for these types of events and be prepared,” said Connor, “not only for the storm but be prepared as much as you can for the aftermath if our county is affected. If you look at the recent devastation from this event you can see why it is stressed so much. It’s easy to overlook potential threats as many times it literally passes by, but it’s not a matter of if it happens – it is more like WHEN it happens, because this is nature, and we are not immune to these events.”
Preparation is key to the best outcome. Connor said he wants all of Chester County to be prepared and safe during extreme weather so that the aftermath would only consist of cleanup with no loss to community members.
To enroll in Code RED weather alert system in Chester County and receive storm notifications on your phone, text CHESTERWEATHER to 99411. For more information on Code RED and other resources, scan the QR codes below.