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October 2018 Emergency Services Update

Phase 4 Storm Shelter

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $2,822,855 in Pre-Disaster Mitigation funds to Salem Township for the construction of a safe room in Sandy Pines.

Sandy Pines, Salem Township and Allegan County Emergency Management have worked together in writing and securing grant funding for this project. Without the cooperation of Salem Township Board and Allegan County Emergency Management this funding would not be possible.

This mitigation project is intended to provide safe shelter from severe high windstorms and tornadoes for residents within Sandy Pines campground. It has been a concern for decades locally and at the Allegan County Emergency Management level for sheltering the residents in this dense populated area for severe weather events. Insufficient shelter space exists for the population to shelter, and this is the concern. Lack of adequate shelter space results in persons sheltering in RV camping units, resulting in persons at high risk of injury or death. If a severe weather event occurred, resources in Western Michigan could be overwhelmed trying to care for the injured. Potential for loss of life is high when adequate space for shelter is not available for residents. This mitigation plan is an effort to reduce the potential risk of injury and loss of life by building a FEMA P-361 compliant structure for residents to shelter, protecting residents, visitors and staff.

The mitigation area is in the Zone IV region and is indicated as a high risk area based on NOAA Storm Prediction Center Statistics and as referenced in the FEMA Wind Zones of the United States. This Storm Shelter will provide residents a high confidence of safety and security for their families. The structure will have a capacity to shelter 1,104 persons, including six wheelchair occupants. The high confidence and safety protection of a FEMA P-361 engineered building will provide a safe haven, with an adequate capacity to shelter residents.

This facility is intended for persons within ¼ mile or 5 minutes walking distance or within ½ mile driving distance. This shelter is intended to shelter the population visiting or residing in the Phase 4 section of Sandy Pines campground during the peak camping season of May 24th to Sept. 4th. During non- peak weekends or holidays the potential may exist to shelter other campground sections populations.

The shelter has an occupancy for 1,104 persons. The occupancy was determined by the Architect/ Engineer based on FEMA guidelines, and building code requirements. The facility has three entrances in the upper level shelter and two entrances in the Lower level shelter.

Preparation and planning will begin this fall. Construction will most likely occur in the off season in the fall of 2019.

This will be a dual purpose building. The first purpose is to provide a building that families can shelter within providing a high confidence of safety and protection for their families by being engineered to FEMA P-361 standards. This relates to construction of foundations, walls, roof, door and door hardware, windows and window opening protection to comply with FEMA P-361 standards. The second purpose is to construct the interior to provide multiple uses to the membership.

FEMA Press Release

FEMA Awards $2,822,855 Grant to Salem Township for Safe Room

Release date:  September 14, 2018

Release Number:  RV-NR-2018-14

CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $2,822,855 in Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) funds to Salem Township for the construction of a safe room in the Sandy Pines campground in Allegan County, Mich.

“The Pre-Disaster Mitigation program enables communities to implement critical mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate the risk of loss of life and property,” said James K. Joseph, regional administrator, FEMA Region V. “This project will give the community a safe room that can be used to protect residents and visitors in the Sandy Pines campground during times of severe weather.”

“Mitigation funding enables our communities to initiate projects that can potentially save lives and protect public property and health,” said Capt. Emmitt McGowan, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division. “This is a great example of a community seizing the opportunity for hazard mitigation grants to enhance the safety of Michigan’s residents.”

PDM provides grants to state and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures. Through PDM, FEMA will pay $2,822,855 of the $3,784,088 eligible project cost. The remaining funds, $961,233, will be provided by Sandy Pines Wilderness Trails.

FEMA’s mission is assist people before, during and after disasters.


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  1. Robert W. Schippers on November 2, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    This is fantastic. Can’t wait to see what the other uses of the building will be.
    Swimming? pickleball? Game room? Movie room?
    Thank you BOD for pursuing the grant.

    • Josh on November 5, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      Thanks Robert! It will be primarily used like our past Adult Recreation Center. We are looking forward to the project.

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