Alabama Great Seal


For Immediate Release

April 21, 2008







Contact:  Tara Hutchinson



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April 21, 2008

Governor Riley Celebrates Grand Opening of New Guin Senior Center


GUIN-Governor Bob Riley today celebrated the grand opening of the state’s first Safe Center for seniors in Guin.  In addition to serving the daily needs of seniors in the area, the new center also serves as shelter in the event of a disaster.


“This Safe Center concept was developed after we saw the devastating effects of hurricanes and tornadoes on the elderly in our state,” said Governor Riley.  “After the storms, many of our seniors did not have a safe place to go to regain a sense of normalcy.  This Safe Center will provide the area’s seniors not only with a place to go for their daily needs, but also lets them know they have somewhere to turn in the case of emergency.”


The building is designed according to Federal Emergency Management Agency standards to withstand hurricane and tornado force winds, floods and other hazardous conditions.


The Safe Center is also equipped with generator power and extra wall outlets that can be used to operate light medical equipment such as portable oxygen machines.  The center has an area for seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia.  The Safe Center also has a satellite telephone to ensure communication after storms and other natural disasters.


In Plan 2010, Governor Riley’s second term agenda, he proposed building senior centers that can also serve as safe centers in areas throughout the state.  In addition to the new center in Guin, plans are underway to build others in the Huntsville area, the Black Belt and near Valley in East Alabama.


Trained staff and volunteers will operate the Safe Center, which will be stocked with appropriate supplies and shelf-staple meals that will be rotated on a regular basis.  The center has full showering and laundry facilities in the event seniors need to stay for an extended period of time.


Irene Collins, Executive Director of the Alabama Department of Senior Services, was also on hand for the grand opening.  “This center is the accomplishment of many agencies working together for the good of the people and the state,” she said.


The Safe Center was developed through a partnership between the Alabama Department of Senior Services, U.S. Administration on Aging, Alabama Emergency Management Agency, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the City of Guin.