Built in the heart of Tornado Alley, you can expect the absolute safest storm shelters.
Posted by OKStormShelters on August 11th, 2012 in Tornado Safety
For protection of Oklahomans during the tornado season, Oklahoma City’s KWTV Channel 9, provides residents of the greater Oklahoma City Metro with a list of public tornado/storm shelters (below). These are to provide people with a place they can seek shelter when they are out and about and away from shelter near their home.
The meteorologist of KWTV Channel 9, Gary England, has advised residents of Oklahoma during storm season for many years that it is a whole lot safer to stay at home rather than try to drive to a storm shelter. If there are underground areas you can get to, these are best, however lower-level rooms that are located in the center of the home can also be used when shelter underground is not available. Blankets, pillows and mattresses should also be used for protection.
Gary also instructs Oklahomans to always have a plan of action for safety when severe weather strikes. These should be reviewed and practiced frequently with children. This ensures they know what should be done when severe weather or a tornado strikes.
Sandy Hall, a life-long resident of Oklahoma City claims, “I’ve ridden out more than one tornado away from my storm shelter at home. I can think of few hospitals in Oklahoma City I haven’t walked into during bad weather. I rode out the May 3rd  tornado in a Wal-Mart store with a lot of other people.”
Hall continues, “People need to know to get underground when storms hit. If you can’t get underground, know your safety plan and use it. Gary [England] has taught us well over the years and we need to do what he says.”
Currently, there are not any Oklahoma public storm shelters in the city of Moore, Edmond and Oklahoma City and access to Oklahoma storm shelters in Norman is very limited.
According to Tom Easley, the Police Captain of Norman, there are only three Oklahoma public storm shelters available to Norman residents which are located at Cleveland Elementary School, Irving Recreation Center and Whittier Recreation Center. Each of these shelters is opened up for the safety of residents that are away from their home and have nowhere to go when bad weather hits.
Very recently, the Whittier Oklahoma storm shelter was needed by local residents and used as temporary housing. However, that is now changed, according to Whittier.
Temporary housing at St. Stephen United Methodist Church may be sought by Norman residents whose homes have suffered damage from the storms.
Easley stated that the Little Axe High School may also be used as an Oklahoma public storm shelter when severe weather strikes.
According to the city’s website, due to the fact that there aren’t any buildings owned by Norman that are specifically designated as storm protection, residents of Norman are probably as safe in a home that is constructed normally as they would be in the buildings listed above.
The following rules must be followed by those that choose to use one of the buildings available to use as emergency storm shelters:
- Smoking is not permitted on the facility property.
- Pets or animals are not permitted inside the facility.
- Weapons or firearms are not permitted.
- No alcohol is permitted. People under the influence of alcohol or drugs are also not permitted on the property.
- All persons using the facility must show respect and take proper care of the facility.
- Loitering outside the facility is not permitted. People using the facility during severe weather must stay inside the shelter until danger subsides.
- Those who don’t observe each of these rules will be asked to leave the premises, according to the city’s website.
Public shelters that are available within the Oklahoma City Metro area include the following:
- Earl Harris Elementary School – 4311 N. Asbury
- Deaconess at Bethany – 7600 N.W. 23rd
- City Hall – 371 S.E. 15th Street (1/4 mile west of Sunnylane)
- Forest Park Fire Station – 4203 N. Coltrane Road
- Reed Center – 5800 Will Rogers (off I-40 and Sooner Rd.)
- City Hall – 100 N. Midwest Blvd.
- Fire Station #5 – 801 S. Westminster (near Westminster and Reno)
- Irving Recreation Center – 1920 E. Alameda
- Whittier Recreation Center – 2000 W. Brooks
- Cleveland Elementary School – 500 N. Sherry
- Little Axe High School – 168th Avenue N.E.
(None of the buildings owned or operated by Norman are built to withstand strong winds. Residents are likely to be as safe in their homes as in any other building in the city).
- Shawnee City Hall – 16 W. Ninth
- Shawnee Fire Station #3 – 306 E. MacArthur St. (Oklahoma & MacArthur)
- Outside City Hall – 5930 N.W. 49th
- Cherokee Hills Park – N.W. 66th & Cherokee Dr.
- Grandma’s Park – N.W. 40th (west of MacArthur)
Posted by OKStormShelters on August 9th, 2012 in Tornado Safety
With severe weather constantly looming overhead, the availability of Oklahoma storm shelters is on the minds of several Oklahoma City residents. Gov. Fallin recently signed a new law that removes possible issues of liability from officials that provide public storm shelters in public buildings.
In addition to the rooms that already exist, there are two safe rooms being built at Bethany Schools’ new Early Education Center. All of these are either currently open or will soon be opening to the public when threats of severe weather occur. Kent Shallenberger, Bethany Superintendent, feels the availability of storm shelters is owed to members of the community.
When the bond issue for new schools was approved by voters, part of the deal was to open Oklahoma storm shelters to the general public. There have still been issues of liability that Shallenberger has been concerned about. He states these concerns arise due to overcrowding that occurs when community members come, which makes monitoring difficult.
Issues such as this will no longer be a problem after the public storm shelter law goes into effect on November 1. This law removes the possibility of liability being placed on public entities that open storm shelters to the general public.
While this law does not require facilities to open during severe weather, it does provide a peace of mind to public facilities that choose to open and provide the public with a public storm shelter.
Posted by OKStormShelters on April 10th, 2012 in Tornado Safety
Whether or not you decide that you need a storm shelter or safe room in your home or small business, you can take two important steps to provide near-absolute protection for you, your family, or employees during a hurricane or tornado: prepare an emergency plan and put an emergency supply kit together. If you decide to build a safe room, your emergency plan should include notifying local emergency managers, first responders (local fire stations), and family members or others outside the immediate area that you have a safe room. This will allow emergency personnel to quickly free you if the exit from your safe room becomes blocked by debris. You should also prepare an emergency supply kit and either keep it in your safe room or be ready to bring it with you if you need to evacuate your home. Some of the items that the emergency supply kit should include are:
- An adequate supply of water for each person in your home or small business (1 gallon per person per day)
- Non-perishable foods that do not have to be prepared or cooked (if these include canned goods, remember to bring a manual can opener)
- Disposable eating utensils, plates, cups, paper towels, etc.
- A first-aid kit, including necessary prescription medicines, bandages, and antibiotic ointment
- Tools and supplies:
- flashlight (one per person; do not bring candles or anything that lights with a flame)
- battery-operated radio or television and NOAA1 weather radio
- cellular phone or Citizen’s Band (CB) radio
- extra batteries for the above tools
- wrench (to turn off gas and water)
- insect repellent and sunscreen
- personal hygiene items such as hand wipes and toilet paper
- Extra change of clothing per person (store in plastic trash bags to keep clean and dry)
- Appropriate outer wear (e.g., sunglasses, ponchos, jackets, gloves, headwear, boots, etc.)
- Bedding materials such as pillows and blankets or sleeping bags
- Special items for:
- babies – formula, diapers, bottles, powdered milk
- children – entertainment items such as books, games, or toys
- adults – contact lenses and supplies, extra glasses, and a sufficient supply of prescription medications
- pets – appropriate supplies such as water (1/2 gallon per day), food, leash, ID tag, carrying container, etc.
- Additional items:
- important documents such as insurance documents, a list of all your important contacts (e.g., family, doctors, insurance agents), banking information, leases/ mortgage, proof of occupancy (such as a utility bill), and a waterproof container in which to keep these documents
- ABC2 rated fire extinguisher
- roofing tarps or plastic sheeting
- roll of large heavy-duty trash bags and duct tape
- money (cash)
You can get more information about emergency planning from American Red Cross (ARC) and FEMA publications, which you can obtain free of charge by calling FEMA at 1-800-480-2520, or by writing to FEMA, P.O. Box 2012, Jessup, MD 20794-2012.
Posted by OKStormShelters on February 1st, 2012 in Tornado Safety
If there was a disaster or emergency, the emergency response teams will be sure to check every shelter that is on their registry.
There is no fee to be included in this registry, you just need to fill out the form below and faxing, mailing or emailing a copy to LaPasha Fifer.
City of Collinsville
ATTN: Storm Shelter Registration/LaPasha Fifer
PO Box 730
Collinsville, OK 74021
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax Number: (918) 371-1019
Posted by OKStormShelters on September 13th, 2011 in Tornado Safety
2011 has been the worst tornado season in the United States in more than 70 years. Not only have there been a significant number of tornadoes this year, their severity and the amount of destruction they have left in their wake has been extraordinary. As a result, there has understandably been an increased interest in tornado safety. This is especially true of those who reside in Tornado Alley, the area of land that stretches between Texas and Nebraska. Of particular interest is where people should seek shelter if they are caught outdoors when a tornado strikes.
A tornado is a frightening occurrence, wherever a person is, when it blows through. However, it can be particularly so if a person is stuck outside. There is often nothing to hide under and thus, an individual is completely at the mercy of the tornado.
If a person is outdoors, their first and best option would be to run inside a sturdy building or a shelter. A store, office building, storm shelter, etc., would be sufficient. If they are not able to do so, there next option would be to find a ditch or low-lying area to lay in, face down with their hands and arms covering the back of their head. When at all possible, a person should try as hard as he or she can to get away from nearby insecure structures and trees which may fall or be blown on top of them.
Tornadoes are unpredictable. They may completely destroy one building and leave the one next to it unscathed. A person who is stuck outdoors may find that the tornado maneuvers away from them at the last minute. This would obviously be the best case scenario.
The best way to avoid being outdoors during a tornado is to be aware that one might occur. Remember the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s true. Finding adequate shelter before a tornado strikes is obviously far better then being forced to protect oneself. This, of course, isn’t always possible. Sometimes tornadoes occur without warning or local sirens aren’t activated in time. However, anytime the weather is inclement, individuals should do their best to be kept abreast of its developments. If there are tornado suspicions, it’s always better to play it safe and avoid outdoor activities or trips.
Outdoors is the last place a person will want to be when a tornado strikes. Unfortunately, sometimes a person has little control over their whereabouts when a tornado hits. When a person is outdoors during a tornado, they will have to seek out the best protection possible. This might involve running into a sturdy building or shelter if there is one available and they have enough time. If there is no such shelter, individuals may need to find an open space and lay flat on the ground with their arms covering their head. If the tornado is visible but still far way, there might still be time to think of an alternative that is safer than finding an open space and laying flat on the ground.
When at all possible, individuals should do their best to be informed about the weather conditions around them so that they can take precautions. Knowing what to do when inclement weather such as a tornado strikes is also important, wherever a person happens to be! Being knowledgeable could mean the difference between life and death.