EDITORIAL: Residents deserve a storm shelter

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Spencer County as a whole was pretty fortunate to come away from Friday’s storms in as good a shape as it did, and for that we are very thankful.
The overall sentiment seems to be that things could have been a lot worse, and unfortunately for some of our fellow Kentuckians, things got a lot worse.
Before the storms hit Friday afternoon and evening, the Taylorsville Police Department utilized Nixle, a web-based alert system that sends out announcements at the direction of Chief Toby Lewis via text message and email. After being in meetings Friday, emergency management officials decided not to open a public storm shelter for city or county residents. Nixle messages informed citizens that there would not be a shelter — unless the storm did enough damage to require a shelter after the storm. We will commend EMA officials on getting the word out in enough time for residents to make other plans, but we guarantee there were a number of residents who didn’t have any other option but to stay home and pray for the best.
According to the National Weather Service website, Spencer County is already what it considers a “StormReady Community.” Being StormReady doesn’t mean storm proof, but it does mean that a community has a plan of action of how to handle storms when they come along.
We suggest a part of that plan should be setting up a storm shelter — a place for residents who don’t have basements and who live in apartments or mobile homes.
Opening up a public building during a potentially threatening storm certainly creates an amount of a liability on the city and/or county, but this is not a situation where liability should trump practicality.
Cities and counties not too far from here opened up public spaces to residents on Friday, and we see no reason that can’t be an option here in the future.
One hurdle might be finding a location to accommodate the potential crowd that could show up, but something worth looking into would be a partnership with one or more local churches with basements.
Once a location is established, we imagine it would be easy to notify those who use it that they are entering at their own risk — safety isn’t guaranteed, but having one option would be better than having none.