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National event shares tips about preparing for twisters

OKLAHOMA CITY – Looking back to last spring, images of destruction and tragedy come to mind after massive tornadoes tore through the state.

Many hard hit areas are recovering but there’s always more that can be done.

The National Tornado Summit in Oklahoma is a two-day event geared to improving disaster mitigation, preparedness and response and recovery efforts to help save lives and property during natural disasters.

Glenn Lewis, mayor of Moore, said, “We’re the only city that I know of that’s had two F-5’s.”

Mayor Glenn Lewis said the National Tornado Summit is a place to share knowledge based on personal experience.

Topics ranged from response tips to goals for federal legislation.

Lewis said, “Making sure that your firemen and police officers have solid shoes when they walk through debris to look for people.”

Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer said, “How we can construct our buildings in a way that are more wind resistant and making sure we have the research going on that’s doing that?”

Other topics included educating homeowners on insurance policies.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak said, “We probably need to look at doing a better job at making sure consumers understand their policies when they lose everything.”

A continued conversation surrounds storm shelters in Oklahoma schools.

Some school districts, like Moore, are building shelters now.

However, not every district has the funds.

The mayor of Joplin said it has to start with investing in education.

Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean said, “Press up on your state and federal reps that you have to have that. You have to, because if they’re not safe, what do you have for your future leaders?”

Mayor Lewis said, “We’re just looking forward to the future, making sure all of them are that way.”

The National Tornado Summit is at the Cox Convention Center and runs through Tuesday.

For more information visit the event’s website.