Creek County wants to register storm shelters

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 8/08/2013 6:46 pm Published: 8/08/2013 4:28 pm

The cleanup in Moore continues after a devastating tornado ripped through that town.

The storm trapped many people inside their storm shelters and now Creek County is working to make sure that does not happen to their citizens.

Creek County is asking people to register their storm shelters so if there is another disaster, like a tornado, they will be found quickly.

The form uses information about where your storm shelter is. What makes it unique is that it asks for GPS coordinates.

They started asking for that information after hearing from a firefighter in Moore after the deadly tornado in May.

"When he was explaining the scene to me, he said everything is gone and everything is flat, so you could be standing directly in front of a house with an in-ground storm shelter and not know it was there. But if we had a GPS coordinate, I could line myself up with that coordinate and line myself up with that house and start digging," said Chad Tanner, the Sapulpa Fire Marshall.

Tanner came up with the idea and has since given it to multiple counties including Creek County.

"If a tornado came through the city, my firefighters would have every address of every storm shelter in the city and be able to look at a GPS coordinate that's built within the page and go directly to the house," he said.

All first responders need is a tablet they can get the information very quickly.

"I can send 10-40 of these storm shelter locations out and say you guys search these 40," said Roscoe Thornbury, the Creek County Emergency Management Director.

Because so many people in Moore were trapped inside their shelters,
Creek County is hoping all of its residents will take advantage of this service.

"They're not well ventilated and they're not intended for you to be in for hours and hours. If you get trapped in one, then it can be detrimental." said Thornbury.

It doesn't cost a thing to register your storm shelter and forms are available at any county office and on the county's website.

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