No shelters available before, during hurricane

Published 1:07 am Thursday, June 2, 2016

If a hurricane threatened the Gulf Coast and Covington County, local residents would need to find their own shelter until after the storm passed.

That’s different than in previous years, when shelters were available during a storm.

Click here for a look at the 2016 season

“We don’t have shelters established for pre-storm events,” Covington County EMA director Susan Harris said. “That’s why it is important for local residents to plan ahead.”

The only exception would come if the governor ordered a state facility opened as a shelter, she said.

In the past, the American Red Cross has manned shelters. Local Red Cross board chairman Kevin Kennedy said volunteers have had a storm drill with the EMA to make sure its preparedness is up to par.

“But we don‘t have a hurricane shelter, per se,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said the Red Cross has a trailer loaded with 100 cots, pillows and blankets to set up an after-care shelter, as well as agreements with the City of Red Level and several churches in the county for shelters if they are needed.

“We have the one trailer ready to mobilize, and if we had a greater need, we would call for support,” Kennedy said.

The local Red Cross only has a few volunteers, he said, but they are really good volunteers.

Anyone interested in completing the training to work in a shelter or other disaster assistance can sign up by visiting

Most of the training can be completed online, Kennedy said.

“We don’t require a lot of training, but a lot of the training now is available online,” Kennedy said.