Hardin County officials encourage people to seek safe shelter ahead of storms

Hardin County has a storm-safe shelter that is tucked into the ground, surrounded by several inches of concrete, and filled with emergency essentials.
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 6:41 PM EDT
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VINE GROVE, Ky. (WAVE) - State and local officials repeat the advice to “be prepared” ahead of every storm.

Hardin County has a storm-safe shelter that is tucked into the ground. It is surrounded by several inches of concrete and filled with emergency essentials.

The safe space was built in 2011 with funds from FEMA and the state. It’s built to FEMA standards and can withstand an EF-5 tornado.

The shelter is built under the Vine Grove Fire Station. It can hold up to 500 people short-term while they wait out the storm.

Fire Chief Steven New said the shelter is necessary in rural Hardin County.

“We’re trying to help protect our people in our trailer parks and some in our surrounding areas, older houses, no basements and such,” New said.

New said in recent storms, the shelter has welcomed in more than 100 people, especially since the December tornadoes tore through Western Kentucky.

“That was a very devastating tornado that ran up through Kentucky,” he said. “It just missed us, actually just kind of went over us and touched back down over in... I believe it was Bullitt County. So we could have been involved in that just like anybody else. I think it struck some chords.”

He reminded people that cars and trailers are some of the most dangerous places to be during severe weather, as winds can rip them apart.

Whether they use this shelter or another safe space, New said people need to at least plan ahead.

“My daughter lives out in the country and across the street they live in an old house and a trailer next to them,” New said. “And she has a basement. So they’re all welcome to come there anytime there’s a storm and I’m sure there’s not a neighbor in Kentucky that wouldn’t let you in their house.”

The chief is also reminding people to have their phones charged and weather radios handy.

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