The larger cities of Huntsville and Madison do not have public safe rooms. In these cities, some places of worship and other buildings may announce they are open as a public shelter during severe weather.
In public facilities or large buildings, the National Weather Service advises occupants to go to the designated shelter, usually an interior room on the lowest level. Use the stairs and not the elevator. Stay away from large windows and skylights. Do not remain in large rooms with high, unsupported roofs such as gymnasiums, halls, warehouses, manufacturing facilities and church sanctuaries.
Mobile homes are one of the most dangerous places to be during a thunderstorm and should be evacuated. Residents of mobile home parks that do not have designated storm shelters should use community shelters if available or make plans to stay with friends, neighbors, or family who live nearby. Seek safe shelter before the storm reaches your location.
There is no guaranteed safe place during a tornado in a traditional home. However, a basement or interior room like a bathroom, closet, or hallway without windows on the lowest level is the best location. For added protection, get under something sturdy, like a workbench or heavy table or under a stairwell. Have blankets or pillows available to protect yourself from falling objects and flying debris. Avoid the corners and exterior walls of the house. Opening windows does not reduce damage to a structure.
The following list of community storm shelters in Madison County is provided for informational purposes. Each community shelter is managed separately in the community it serves and has its own criteria for opening and closing and may not always be available. The Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency does not manage any community storm shelters and cannot guarantee the safety of any individuals in a community storm shelter or any other storm shelters opened by churches, civic groups, etc. Generally, community shelters are opened during tornado watches. Sometimes tornadoes can occur even when the Storm Prediction Center has not issued a tornado watch and therefore, access to a community storm shelter may not be possible in those situations. The time to go to a community storm shelter is during a tornado watch before conditions begin to deteriorate, not when a tornado warning has been issued for the area. Traveling during a tornado warning is dangerous and could lead to serious injury or death and is not recommended.