Storm safety task force issues series of suggestions

Posted on: 5:48 pm, September 26, 2013, by


OKLAHOMA CITY — A task force formed in the wake of the May 20th tornado issues its recommendations aimed to make Oklahomans more prepared for storms.

The task force set up by Mayor Mick Cornett made four suggestions.

One is changing when tornado sirens sound in the city. Right now whenever a tornado warning is issued, outdoor sirens sound all across Oklahoma county.

Amending the siren sounding policy, to set off sirens only near the storms actual path, is the first recommendation from mayor Cornett’s task force.

“We can more tightly define which sirens go off. So when people hear it, they take notice, and we won’t warn people unnecessarily,” Mayor Cornett says.

Employing the fire department to help schools develop more uniform safety procedures is recommendation number two.

Using city resources, like the brochure included in the city’s water bill, to promote storm preparedness is another idea, instead of simply relying on meteorologists to educate the public.

“Decisions people make may save their lives. The more info we can provide will allow them to make better decisions,” Cornett said.

“The sirens and other communications systems can be improved upon,” said Harold Roberts with ASTEC charter school.

Roberts sat on the task force. Right now, his school has no storm shelters.

In a few years, ASTEC plans to build a new building and it will include a shelter.

The task force asked city staff to review requiring all new schools built in the city to include storm shelters.

“It’s my belief we ought to require all schools built in Oklahoma City to have a safe room area,” said Cornett.

“Knowing there’s a shelter in the building gives parents and students peace of mind,” said Roberts.

Several others on the task force, including two city councilman, also support the idea of requiring storm shelters in new schools.

Right now there’s no timeline for when the city will implement the ideas they’ve discussed.