Jackson Officials Remind Public About FEMA Safe Room at Jackson Civic Center
Since March came "in like a lion" this year, severe weather awareness is top of the mind for all of us. The Missouri statewide tornado drill was held on Tuesday, March 7 at 10 a.m. Because this is Severe Weather Awareness Week, Jackson officials remind the community that the tornado safe room in the Jackson Civic Center 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 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 located at 381 E. Deerwood Dr. Constructed in 2016, the safe room was designed for a maximum of 1,190 individuals.
This safe room was built in accordance with FEMA 361 guidelines, which must also be adhered to in the usage of the facility. 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 and steel doors to protect against debris projectiles. This safe room is intended to provide protection during a short-term extreme-wind event such as a tornado. This 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 2 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/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 (jacksonmo.org) and Facebook page (facebook.com/JacksonMo) are good places to check 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 makes 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 threat has passed.
The 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 on the FEMA safe room, contact Parks & Recreation Director Shane Anderson at (573) 204-8848.
For a visual explanation of the storm siren activation protocol, view Storm Polygon Map.
For a list of storm safety tips and reminders, download Storm Safety Tips.
For more information on storm safety, visit the Missouri Storm Safety website.