Monday, November 30, 2015

Residents at Richardson Terrace Concerned with Severe Weather Safety
By Ashley Thompson

The Richardson Terrace Apartment Building has seven floors and some residents there say building management won't let them come down to the first floor during severe weather.

Those residents reached out to us to find out why.

It's tornado season and during severe weather, you may hear experts tell you to go to your safe place, a place in your residence where you're the least likely to get injured. But some Montgomery residents who live in Richardson Terrace say they don't have one.

"We do not have a safe place to go," says Patty, who did not want to give her last name. "We have a lot of glass in this building. We don't even know where the strong walls are to be in the area we need to be. We don't have any instruction on when to go."

When severe storms hit Alabama last week, Lucy Hamilton says she tried to go down to the first floor for safety but was told to stay in her unit, on the 6th floor.

"Security knocked on our door at 2 o'clock in the morning and said, you must come down to a safer area," she says. "The next day, housing authority management said you can not come downstairs. You must stay in your apartment."

Charina Allen Beasley with the housing authority tells us there is a place for residents to go during emergencies.

"We do have a basement here in this facility," she says.

But she tells us she's never actually been to it. Beasley also says the apartment has a disaster management plan.

"During the last management plan drill that we had at this site, residents were told what they should do in terms of where to go for disaster. I understand that in some cases, residents were told to stay in place but it was a fire drill"

Though some residents say they don't know of the plan and have been told that the basement is off limits.

"She said you can not go in the basement because there's too many open gas lines and electrical wires," Hamilton says.

Others say they just want to be prepared for future severe weather.

"Just last week, we had three funnel clouds here in Montgomery that didn't touch down," says Dwight Martin.

After we spoke with officials at Richardson Terrace, Hamilton tells us notes were put up around the building, saying officials will hold a disaster preparation meeting on Monday.