Saturday, the Town of Cleveland invited the community to view the new storm shelters located near the town park.
The shelters, built by Safety Shelter out of Danville, have a capacity of 200 and are able to withstand 200 mph-plus winds, which is the equivalents of an EF5 tornado. They are handicap accessible, with a restroom, dehumidifier, vented air, and lights. The shelters also have an automatic, natural gas generator so the power will never go out, and cellular phone reception is available. Both are made of steel, but are grounded and meet the safety regulations of the EMA and FEMA.
The shelters will be open whenever Blount County goes into a tornado watch and will remain open until all is clear. Mayor Jerry Jones says at least six people in the town will have a key to the shelters.“Somebody will always be able to open it,” he said.
When in the shelter, a weather radio will be in operation and someone from the town will be there. Jones says if someone is planning to come they need to plan ahead because, for safety reasons, once a tornado is in close proximity the door won’t be open.
If the town starts experiencing an overflow of people to the shelters during bad weather, Jones says they will begin building new shelters.