Build to last and to protect

Published: July 1, 2013
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The devastating tornadoes that Oklahoma recently experienced generated an important debate about safety. As we mourn those who were lost in the tornadoes, policymakers should honor them by making a commitment to building smarter and making structures stronger and more resilient than we have in the past. One issue being considered is safe rooms that can withstand tornadic winds and save lives. These fortified rooms shouldn't only be part of the discussion, but part of the rebuilding.

Of course, any rebuilding plan has cost issues that policymakers should consider. But the cost of building on the cheap will only cost taxpayers more when disaster strikes again. We know that the tornado that devastated Moore followed a similar path as the 1999 tornado that hit that community. Yet the schools that were struck this year didn't have dedicated storm shelters or safe rooms for the children and teachers. With two deadly tornadoes striking our state in the course of two weeks and the community of Moore being struck three times within 14 years, we know that disaster isn't a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Policymakers should spend disaster relief dollars on resilient building, using the strongest materials. When we build to last, we're building to protect life, property and ultimately taxpayer money.

Mark Fivecoats, Tulsa