Columbiana opens public storm shelters

By NICOLE LOGGINS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – The Columbiana city storm shelters are now open and will remain open until the threat of severe weather has passed. The shelters are located behind the Southeast Shelby Rescue building, said Mayor Allan Lowe.

“The best way to get to the shelters is to pull into the entrance drive located between the Southeast Shelby Rescue building and the Columbiana Fire Department,” Lowe wrote in an email to local business owners and citizens.

“Do not park your vehicles in a way that may prevent an ambulance from reaching the shelters,” he wrote.

Citizens need to be in a safe location before a tornado warning has been issued. Trained personnel with the Columbiana Fire Department will be present once the severity of the weather warrants, said the mayor.

Those who use the shelters are encouraged to bring a seat cushion, a flashlight, snacks or beverages you think you may need and something to occupy your time, Lowe emphasized in the community email.

The city requests that you do not bring firearms, excessive personal belongings, like luggage, pets that are not in pet carriers, or radios, MP3 players or portable televisions that do not use headphones. No alcohol or tobacco will be permitted inside the shelters.

Lowe urges citizens to remember to alert senior citizens, injured or disabled individuals and those who not have Internet access as the storms approach throughout the weekend.

Lowe said he is fortunate to have many emails for business owners and community members to help get the word out about the storm shelters.

“We have a lot of lead time and we know we’re at high risk, so I thought this would be a good way to pass the info along and ask others to pass the info along to their friends and family,” Lowe said.

Lowe said at the next city council meeting he hopes to bring up the idea of upgrading the city’s website to host an email database for important city news regarding missing persons, natural disasters or important city meetings.