The Norman Transcript

Government

February 21, 2013

City fire chief: Shelter in place

NORMAN — While four designated city storm shelters will remain open this year, Norman is moving toward a “shelter in place” strategy for next year. The city currently has public shelters at schools with recreational centers — Whittier, Cleveland, Irving and Little Axe — but those buildings may not be safer than most homes.

Norman’s public storm shelters are not certified tornado safe shelters, and even when an advanced warning is possible, there may not be enough time to get in a car and drive across town to a shelter, Norman Fire Chief James Fullingim said.

Fullingim supports the national trend of encouraging people to “shelter in place” which includes creating family plans when severe weather hits.

Fullingim discussed concerns about the storm shelters last month with Norman City Council members. At that time, Council member Tom Kovach said he wanted to keep the shelter at Whittier open for the mobile home park nearby. Fullingim said that’s not feasible.

Despite the proximity of Whittier to the mobile home park, the city cannot designate that shelter strictly for the use of mobile home residents while keeping the rest of the public out.

During school hours, school security also becomes an issue. Areas of the schools are designated as safety spots for school children, not for people at large, Fullingim said. School officials cannot have strangers mingling with school children.

He said the areas where the general public is allowed to seek shelter may not be storm safe.

“They’re just buildings,” Fullingim said. “What we’re doing may provide a false sense of security.”

Fullingim said he learned that people travel from other communities to seek shelter in Norman.

The National Weather Service tries to provide a 15-minute tornado warning to allow people to get to safety, but that isn’t always possible. In cases such as the tornado that hit Norman on April 13, the advanced warning didn’t happen.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Government
  • Council OKs $48.8M contract for wastewater plant upgrades

    The Norman City Council awarded a $48.8 million project for wastewater treatment plant upgrades Tuesday. The council accepted a $50.3 million low-interest loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund....

    April 23, 2014

  • Craft breweries new category of Okla. made

    Norman will now recognize Oklahoma brewers to allow craft breweries to operate under special licensing. On Tuesday, the city council approved the creation of an additional category of Oklahoma Brewer to the city’s fee schedule for ...

    April 23, 2014

  • City home first to include gray water system

    Neighbors are likely to be green with envy when Allen and Sallie Ahlert have a beautiful lawn and garden without paying extra for city water in the future. That’s because the Ahlerts are including a gray water system in the new home they ...

    April 22, 2014

  • Anti-abortion picketers target Moore schools

    MOORE — Moore City Council member Robert Krows said problems with picketers at schools have gravitated from Norman to Moore and parents are concerned....

    April 22, 2014

  • Oklahoma receives $77.18M tobacco settlement payment

    Oklahoma recieved $77.18 million in annual payments from the tobacco industry under the national Master Settlement Agreement. With the latest receipts, Oklahoma has received $1.16 billion since payments began in 1999. State Treasurer Ken ...

    April 22, 2014

  • Congressman Cole reflects on recovery

    Congressman Tom Cole’s home in Moore was not hit by the May 20 tornado but it came pretty close. His wife has made it clear she wants a saferoom, he said. In a visit to the Transcript on Friday afternoon, Cole talked about tornado ...

    April 19, 2014

  • Oklahoma Water Resources Board grants Norman low-interest loan for facility upgrade

    Norman has been authorized for a $50.3 million loan from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to fund Phase 2 of the Norman Water Reclamation Facility upgrade. “It’s the single largest loan OWRB has made,” Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said. ...

    April 17, 2014

  • General fund continues to decline as expenses exceed anticipated revenues

    Norman’s expenses will again outstrip projected revenue in the current budget before the city council. The budget for the fiscal year that starts in July and ends June 30, 2015, projects $210,982,020 in total revenues and $213,436,778 in ...

    April 16, 2014

  • County hears presentation on employment opportunities

    The Cleveland County Board of Commissioners listened to a presentation Monday to consider partnering with a nonprofit that provides employment opportunities for prison inmates re-entering the community. Patrick Viklund, Center for ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Drilling operation shows policy gap

    While Norman residents are being encouraged to use rain barrels, a Texas oil and gas company is pumping thousands of gallons of treated drinking water into the ground. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission controls permits for drilling, ...

    April 12, 2014

Video
Facebook