The Norman Transcript

News Features

June 8, 2013

Q&A with Oklahoma emergency management director



A: I don’t think anyone wants to tell local jurisdictions what they have to do. I’m talking about something that would be an incentive for districts to set this as a priority or a fundable item. It would never be 100 percent federal or state government saying, “We’re going to put a safe room in your school.” It would be, “Here’s an opportunity for you, should you decide to take it. You could match your bond money against what we’ve already got in place.”

Q: Should everybody in the state have some kind of residential shelter or safe room?

A: First and foremost, everybody in the state of Oklahoma should have a safety plan on what they’re going to do. We would love to see everyone have a safe room or a shelter, but that’s not practical. We understand that. There are many people who live in apartments. There are many people who live in mobile home parks and places that don’t have a safe room because they don’t own the land that they’re living on. We need to address all facets of that.

We’re not proponents of community shelters. We don’t want people to leave their home to go to a community shelter.

But we also realize that there are certain situations like commercial buildings, mobile home parks, where there needs to be a plan on where individual residents go.

Q: What do you have at your house?

A: I have a cellar in my garage. I put it in right after the ‘99 tornadoes. My wife said, “When are you going to buy our cellar? ... You’d look pretty stupid if you didn’t have one.” I said, “You’re right.” So we went out and got one.

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