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Rankin Co. Safe Room opening for potential severe weather amid pandemic

Updated: Apr. 11, 2020 at 10:03 PM CDT
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RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) Easter Sunday has the possibility to bring strong storms.

Rankin County officials taking action now, and preparing the Rankin County Safe Room for residents.

The potential for tornadoes, hail, and strong winds and storms are expected to sweep through the Mississippi.

“This is a shelter, it is a safe place for you to come especially if you live in a trailer or have a home surrounded by trees.”

Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey is beefing up Rankin’s Safe Room, protecting residents from not only the storm but also COVID-19.

“In a situation like this, we have to weigh the virus and personal safety from tornadoes. We will open the facility pandemic or not.”

Those extra safety precautions will start at the door.

Hand sanitizer is found in every corner. Signs are posted reminding people to practice good hygiene. Chairs and tables are spread out to encourage social distancing.

“We will try to social distance everyone but if it gets to a point where more people are coming in then we have room to social distance. The distancing will get less and less and less.”

Masks and gloves will also be provided at the door but Sheriff Bailey encourages you to bring your own supplies if you can.

“Big thing I want to note, I do not have enough masks and gloves for everyone who comes here. Please bring your own masks and gloves!”

If you are sick or have a fever the safe room will not turn you away… instead they found a way to keep everyone safe.

“Notify the personnel before you get here we will have a special area off to the side to distance anyone sick from the healthy people.”

And if you plan on bringing in your furry friend, you’re asked to please bring your kennel or at least a leash with you.

Lastly, Sheriff Bailey asks anyone eager to lend a helping hand to sew homemade masks to help protect deputies from the virus.

“I am trying to get three per deputy for every shift. I have 116 deputies. We would love to have a stockpile here for anyone who doesn’t have one they can bring one home.”

“We are still going to serve you. We will make it through all of this.”

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