Norman officially closes public storm shelters

Norman officially closed its public storm shelters at area schools on recommendation from Fire Chief Jim Fullingim. Overcrowding had been a consistent problem at the sites, and fire officials said the killer storms in May proved schools were no safer than homes.
by Jane Glenn Cannon Modified: October 9, 2013 at 8:53 pm •  Published: October 10, 2013
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“We have had people standing outside storm shelters when the storm hit because the shelters were full,” he said.

Fullingim said residents should develop personal emergency plans for themselves and their families. Going to a neighbor's shelter or finding the lowest, most protected spot in a home is safer than being in a vehicle trying to get to a public shelter or trying to outrun a storm, he said.

Resident Mark Campbell said closing the public shelters left people who live in apartments or those who ride public buses at risk.

“Where are we supposed to go?” he asked. “I live on the second floor of an apartment building with a vinyl bathtub. Just because you can't protect everybody, you are not going to protect anybody.”

Harold Heiple said he approved of the council's action “because you have labeled structures storm shelters that are not storm shelters.”

By doing so, it puts more people at risk, he said.

“If my wife and I are destroyed while sheltering in our house, that's two people who are killed. I'd rather that happen than 200 people be destroyed who thought they were safe.”


by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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Where are we supposed to go? I live on the second floor of an apartment building with a vinyl bathtub. Just because you can't protect everybody, you are not going to protect anybody.”

Mark Campbell,

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