The Norman Transcript


January 16, 2013

Public shelters in city could soon be thing of the past



“This is an outdoor warning system,” Fullingim said. “It is intended to warn people who are outside to take shelter.”

People in homes should listen to a NOAA weather radio and/or watch local television broadcasts as well as keeping an eye on the sky.

“The tornado that happened last spring developed in McClain County,” Fullingim said. “I recommend you add McClain County and Cleveland County both to your radio.”

He said it is important that people develop personal plans for action in case of a tornado.

While the city has public shelters at public schools with recreational centers — Whittier, Cleveland, Irving and Little Axe — those buildings may not be safer than most homes.

Furthermore, the fire department must open those shelters during the hours that school is not in operation. The fire department needs an hour to an hour- and-a-half lead time to open a shelter, and often that time is not available before a tornado hits.

“If we are going to provide these shelters, we need to be certain they are open,” Fullingim said.

Other problems are associated with having public storm shelters.

“The last place you want to be in during a tornado is a car,” Fullingim said.

While mobile homes are not safe either, often people will pass other buildings while trying to get to a public shelter. The tornado may arrive before they are in the shelter.

Additionally, there is confusion about which schools are shelters.

“People get the impression all schools are storm shelters,” he said.

People arrive at a school and the doors are locked.

“We’ve had that situation more than once,” Fullingim said.

Social media has contributed to the problem because of public reports. A janitor may let someone into a building and then they put the message out. Suddenly, a school that is not staffed to be a storm shelter is mobbed with people.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Braddy_1. Norman North teen struck by freight train recovering with therapy

    A Norman North teen struck by a freight train in May is on the road to recovery and ready to get back to school after spending most of his summer in a hospital. Harrison Braddy, 16, has been staying busy with rehab and physical therapy ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Storm victims face loan dilemma

    The tornadoes, flooding and hail that struck Oklahoma last year left hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, causing many home and business owners to seek help in the form of low-interest federal loans....

    July 27, 2014

  • Teen critical after rescue

    A 17-year-old Yukon male was transported to the hospital Sunday after a near drowning incident at Lake Thunderbird in the Party Cove area. Emergency crews responded to the lake after a report of a possible drowning around 5:30 p.m. ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Migrant kids go to Mass

    The services have all the elements of a typical Sunday Mass — singing, scripture, a sermon, prayers, communion and worship....

    July 27, 2014

  • Police identify woman found dead Monday

    Norman police have identified a woman found dead in her home at 2202 Donna Drive Monday afternoon. Police responded at 1:25 p.m. to the residence of Cassandra Thompson, 30, after receiving a report that she had not shown up for work ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Residents speak out about document regarding shelter photos

    Norman and metro-area residents showed up in overwhelming numbers, many in red shirts, for an Animal Shelter Oversight Board meeting Monday night demanding for their opinions to be heard....

    July 29, 2014

  • Cool snap brings heat relief to Oklahoma, Arkansas

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The dog days of summer are coming in with a whimper. Weather forecasters say a cold front headed for Oklahoma and Arkansas will bring unseasonably cool temperatures and a chance of rain through next week....

    July 29, 2014

  • Mixon’s attorney says athlete acted in self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense. “This past Friday morning, Joe Mixon found himself in a situation ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Be ready for ‘prolonged’ Gaza war, prime minister says

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Signaling an escalation of Israel’s Gaza operation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis Monday to be ready for a “prolonged” war, and the military warned Palestinians in three large neighborhoods to ...

    July 29, 2014

  • FBI defends search for Oklahoma City bombing video

    SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI thoroughly searched its archives and found no evidence that more videos of the Oklahoma City bombing exist, agency employees told a judge Monday in a trial that has rekindled questions about whether any others were ...

    July 29, 2014