Arlington Building $1.4 Million Safe Shelter

Arlington Building $1.4 Million Safe Shelter

The city of Arlington is embarking on a project to build a safe home worth $1.4 million. It's open to the public in the event of an emergency but can only hold 1,300 people.
ARLINGTON, TN (localmemphis.com) - Some people have storm shelters, most don’t, but one community is making one that’s rated for an EF5 tornado and it’s open to the public.

Currently, it doesn’t look like much, but in a few short months by the end of December, it’ll be a safety facility that holds 1,300 people.

Ed Haley with Arlington Public Works has been a part of planning this building from the start, down to every detail.

“It’s got three entrances into the facility. It’ll withstand 250mph winds, F5 tornado, earthquakes; it's concrete and steel.”

A FEMA grant was awarded to help pay for the $1.4 million facility, the other money comes from the city and state. In order for them to get the FEMA money, they had to give an operation plan.

Haley said, “Our Fire Chief is the director of safety here, they are on call 24/7 and we have it staffed 24/7 which is just on the other side of the street; to be there and have access. So once that warning comes in, that building is open.”

Arlington has a population of about 13,000; when asked what happens if someone might get turned away - the safe building is first come first serve - Haley replied, “As long as it's safe and someone can get in there, you need to let them in, I wouldn’t be one to stop them but like anything else, it’s built to a limit.”

When it's not being used to save lives, the building is equipped with electricity and running water and is suited for hosting meetings and other events.

The shelter's back doors bump against Arlington Elementary School. Their student body population is about 900, so if a storm threatens they have a safe place to go.
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