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Jackson County Emergency Services Offering Cold Weather Shelters

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Jackson County Emergency Services Offering Cold Weather Shelters

Jackson County Emergency Management will provide cold-weather shelters as needed through the week’s cold snap.

Jackson County EMA Public Information Officer Derek Woolbright said the cold-weather shelters will be opened on an as-needed basis. Woolbright said needed equipment is kept on standby so that churches and community centers can be used to house people at a moment’s notice. Woolbright said food and water will also be provided for those needing a warm place to stay.

“It just goes back to public safety,” Woolbright said. “These temperatures that we’re going to be seeing for the next couple of days can be deadly if you don’t have a heat source, and we want to make sure that each and every resident of our county has the opportunity to stay warm and safe if they need it.”

Woolbright said the there are no limitations on the number of people in need or the temperature outside. If people call and request a shelter, a space will be made available. Residents without a heat source can call (931) 268-6133 to request the service.

Woolbright said in the decade that he’s been with the Emergency Service, this service has been offered. He said typically, there are no more 10-15 people who find themselves in need. He said that while there are unhoused people in the county who need this throughout the winter, it is more common that people who lose electricity end up staying in the shelters.

“A lot of people don’t realize how dangerous just the cold can be, and there are so many of our residents who, if they lose electricity, they lose heat” Woolbright said. “They don’t have an alternate heat source. That’s common.”

He said in this case, he anticipates that a shelter will be made available for at least the next five to seven days given the frigid temperatures forecasted for the next week. He said one of the most important aspects of the service is that any facility used as a shelter is one that Emergency Services is able to run a generator through and heat in the case that the facility loses power.

“It doesn’t matter if there’s one person that needs it or 100 people that need it, we’ll activate that shelter immediately and get them to some warmth,” Woolbright said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s five degrees or 35 degrees.”


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