The Norman Transcript

News Features

June 19, 2013

Experts say that residents should have emergency preparedness plans



Maintain kits by rotating food and water supplies every six months, and consider updating kits as family needs change. Having multiple kits on hand in various locations — such as home, work and vehicle — can ensure preparedness at all times.

For more information on building a kit, visit Visit for the Spanish version of the website.

· Sheltering: Knowing where and when to seek shelter is critical during a tornado. Grizzle said when Norman residents hear a siren, they should already be well into their emergency preparedness plan.

The city of Norman Emergency Management supports the concept of sheltering in place. Residents should seek the safest area of the building they are in. If not getting into a shelter or safe room, the safest area is an interior room with no windows on the lowest level of a building. Cars and mobile homes are not safe during a tornado.

If a family decides to vacate an area, plans should be made early enough to reach the destination before the storm enters city limits.

Grizzle said Norman residents should be aware that public shelters are designed for those who are caught out in the storm or have no better option. These locations are not certified storm shelters and are not any safer than the typical home.

Ernst Kiesling, executive director of the National Storm Shelter Association and research professor at Texas Tech University’s National Wind Institute, said surviving a tornado isn’t dependent upon having access to a certified shelter.

“The probability of surviving a severe tornado is pretty high; not too many people are killed. Primarily, with a storm shelter you get peace of mind and have a safe place available,” Kiesling said. “If children are home and you’re not, then they know what to do and you can rest easy knowing that regardless of what type of weather you have a safe place is available. Peace of mind is the best reason to have a storm shelter.”

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