OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – When severe weather is in the forecast, many Oklahoma families will create plans to make sure they are prepared when storms strike.
It’s a question that we hear quite often; does Oklahoma City have any public storm shelters?
The short answer is no.
Many local school districts have made it a priority to create a safe room or storm shelter for students during school hours.
However, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt says there are no public storm shelters available to the general public.
“Here in Oklahoma with tornadoes, as you know, we really only get a few minutes. The best that we can do is that occasionally we’re told today might be a day where there is an opportunity for severe weather. But in reality, you only get 10 to 15 minutes of notice that there’s truly a tornado on the ground that may impact you,” said Holt.
Holt stressed that because of the nature of tornadoes, a public shelter could actually put more people at risk.
“So we can’t have tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of residents relocating on a few minutes notice to some sort of public shelter. Imagine with the 620 square-miles that we have here how long that would take for that relocation to occur. And you would have your roads choked with cars, people that are now sitting ducks for the tornado, they’re not protected. So it just isn’t practical. It just doesn’t work,” he said.
Holt says since we can’t have a public storm shelter in Oklahoma City, residents should prepare a severe weather plan ahead of time. He stresses that families should either have their own storm shelter or know the safest spot inside their house.