Wyoming woman suggests Kent County compile a storm shelter list

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KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Melissa Farratell recently moved to a mobile home park in Wyoming. She said she vividly remembers last summer’s tornado which hit parts of Wyoming and Kentwood.

“It was eerie to see trees uprooted and homes kind of taken apart and things not where they’re supposed to be,” she recalled.

The twister left widespread damage in its path.  Thankfully, there were few injuries and no deaths. This year, Farratell is worried because her lease states in capitol letters that shelters are not available in her mobile home community.

With the severe weather season on the horizon, Farratell wants to know about tornado shelters in her area.

“Moving to a new area, we were researching where we could go. We weren’t sure. We wanted to put together a plan of action for ourselves. So I decided to get online and started researching,” she explained.

Farratell concluded, “I couldn’t find anything as to where people could go.”

She searched Kent County’s website which offers many tips and resources but no list.

“We have several cities within our county that don’t have a designated [shelter] or even a compiled list,” she said.

FOX 17 learned the following from Kent County:

– There isn’t a list, but citizens can call their township or city government and churches [before a storm] to find out where they can go.

– Depending on the mobile home park, the park may have a plan in place.

A park employee in Farratell’s community told FOX 17 they refer everyone to the local Meijer.

FOX 17 also spoke with the city of Wyoming and learned the following:

– Wyoming doesn’t have a list.
–  The city works with the American Red Cross, and they are able to activate shelters when an emergency event occurs.

“At least have a list compiled,” Farratell said.

“Gosh, I would hate to see something terrible, terrible happen and people lose their lives because we weren’t prepared,” she said.

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