Edmond has no public storm shelters

No public storm shelters are available in Edmond. People are encouraged to have an emergency plan and practice it.
BY DIANA BALDWIN dbaldwin@opubco.com Published: February 27, 2012
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None of Edmond's public buildings will be used as shelters when severe weather strikes again, said Matt Stillwell, director of emergency management.

There have been no public storm shelters in Edmond for at least five years, Stillwell said, though some school buildings sheltered Edmond residents last year during a deadly tornado.

“For many reasons, but primarily focusing on the safety of our citizens, the city does not open any public buildings as public pre-event severe weather shelters,” Stillwell said. “There are a number of challenges with public storm shelters.”

For example, people who flock to the shelters might find them already filled, or they might find that no public employees showed up to unlock the buildings.

During the May 24 tornado, Edmond Public Schools let some 8,000 people into school buildings. More than 2,000 sought shelter at Edmond Santa Fe High School.

School district officials last week said school buildings will not be opened in the future during severe weather.

The schools' underground and aboveground safe rooms were never meant to serve as public shelters. Safe rooms are to provide protection for the students and staff during the regular school day, said Jim Rothrock, district safety coordinator.

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