Storm Shelters: You never need one until you do. A story from Smithville, MS

I wish we had a storm shelter. In fact, I wish everyone had a storm shelter, even businesses. Maybe so many lives wouldn’t have been lost this year if everyone had one. Maybe its time to think about getting one while rebuilding demolished homes and businesses. (Couldn’t there be a tax break for this? Heck, we give tax breaks to conglomerates such as GE, for heavens’ sakes. And yes, I know about the budget deficit.)

For some lucky people, one of their neighbors decided to have a shelter installed years ago, and it saved ten lives. I’d say it was money well spent.  Here’s an interesting story sent to me by a reader, who read it in the Memphis Commercial Appeal. See citation below. The picture at the end says it all.

The Commercial Appeal 06/05/2011, Page V05
1,000 WORDS 


$270 per life saved

Dan Chism paid about $2,700 for his underground storm shelter 12 years ago. Ten people ranging in age from 1 to 91 quickly took cover there from the roaring 205-mph winds that destroyed his house and most of the rest of Smithville, Miss., in 10 seconds on April 27. They emerged to tell their stories. “It paid for itself in one day in just a few short minutes,” said Chism’s wife, Peggy. Many people in Smithville and throughout the South did not have shelters and were caught unprepared to face the fury of nature during an outbreak of storms that moved through Mississippi, Alabama and five other states that day, killing more than 300 people.

Alan Spearman/The Commercial Appeal
1,000 Words” is a pictorial commentary on events in Greater Memphis and around the world . Today’s “1,000 Words” was written by Alan Spearman, a photographer for The Commercial Appeal.


About M.J.Deare

I am a writer, actively researching topics of interest. I am also a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, with a degree in English, and have a master's degree from the University of Memphis. Born in New Orleans, I lived there until moving to northwest Arkansas and from there to Memphis, Tennessee. My husband and I currently reside in The Woodlands, Texas.
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