State to use JDCC for storm shelter

Published 6:55 pm Monday, April 24, 2006

Jefferson Davis Community College would be used as a hurricane shelter under a new state preparedness plan unveiled this week.
The plan calls for Alabama to use its network of community colleges and their facilities to house as many as 25,000 people at a time.
Red Cross and state emergency management officials will visit college campuses next week to assess needs, said Amanda Vaughn, director of communications for the Alabama College System.
JDCC President Dr. Susan McBride said the college is ready to work with state officials.
The colleges across the state would be organized in three tiers to open as space is needed.
JDCC would be considered a &#8220tier one” shelter - that is, filled first - because of its proximity to the coast, Vaughn said.
Vaughn emphasized that Red Cross - the organization usually charged with manning and running such shelters - has been involved with the state's plan.
Red Cross has experience running shelters, while colleges have facilities such as showers and cafeterias that can accommodate evacuees for longer periods of time, Vaughn said.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, more than 25,000 people registered in Alabama as evacuees after Hurricane Katrina last year.
Many of those evacuees stayed longer than expected because of widespread damage and flooding along the coast and in New Orleans.