City of Jackson provides safe room for residents during severe weather

JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - Because this is "Severe Weather Awareness Week," Jackson City officials would like to remind the public that the Civic Center's tornado safe room will be open during tornado watches or warnings, and will remain open until the severe weather has abated and the National Weather Service has canceled the warnings and watches or if they have expired.

In 2013, the State of Missouri partnered with the City of Jackson to build a tornado safe room in the Jackson Civic Center. Constructed in 2016, the safe room was designed for a maximum of 1,190 individuals.

The safe room was built in accordance with FEMA 361 guidelines. It meets FEMA standards and was built to withstand winds of an EF-5 tornado (approximately 250 mph).

The safe room is reinforced with concrete, as well as steel doors and steel window shutters to protect against debris projectiles.

The safe room is intended to provide protection during short-term extreme wind event such as a tornado. It is not a recovery shelter or a shelter that can be used as a warming or cooling center. According to FEMA, the average maximum stay is approximately two hours.

When severe weather is anticipated, safe room hosts are alerted and know to be on the lookout. City leaders receive regular updates from local emergency management officials and if or when a potential need for shelter arises, civic center employees are given the okay to open the safe room when they can.

The City's website and Facebook page are good places to look for status updates.

In compliance with FEMA regulations, the following regulations will apply: no pets, except service animals, are allowed in the safe room. Drugs (except properly prescribed medications) alcohol and weapons are also prohibited. The City is making this area available as a service to the community and is not responsible for accidents or injuries occurring while the safe room is in use by community members. For the protection and safety of all, guests are asked to comply with all requests from FEMA safe room hosts and remain inside the shelters until the severe weather has passed.

Opening Guidelines:

The Jackson civic center Safe Room will be activated when one or more of the following conditions have developed:

  • By request of the National Weather Service
  • By request of the Cape Girardeau County Emergency Management
  • When Cape Girardeau County has been placed in a tornado watch status and severe weather is imminent
  • After a trained weather spotter in an adjoining county has located a funnel or wall cloud and movement is toward the Jackson area

For more information about the safe room, you can contact Parks & Recreation director Shane Anderson at (573)-204-8848.

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