The National Weather Service in Birmingham has designated October 16 as Fall Severe Weather Awareness Day in Alabama. Today the city of Bessemer celebrated by cutting the ribbon on its new Community Storm Shelter and Emergency Operations Storm Shelter. The shelters, the first in the city, are located adjacent to the Bessemer Police Department’s Emergency Operations Center at 651 Ninth Avenue Southwest. The Community Storm Shelter can hold up to 100 people in the event of hazardous weather while the Emergency Operations Shelter can hold up to 60 public safety personnel.

The shelters were made possible through a combination of local funds and federal funding by way of FEMA with a total cost of $579,000. The Community Storm Shelter was paid for by a 75 money from FEMA and 25 percent from the city. The Emergency Operations Storm Shelter was 100% paid for by E911 money. The city of Bessemer is no stranger to severe weather. In 2014 and again in 2016, severe storms produced tornadoes in our city.  

On hand for the ribbon-cutting was Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley, members of the Bessemer City Council, Bessemer Police Chief Roper, Bessemer Fire Chief Randall McFarland, members of the Bessemer Police and Fire Department, and other locals. The Bessemer Chamber of Commerce hosted the ribbon-cutting ceremony.