Storm season shelter plans

Lawton_It's storm season and it's time to make your preparation plans for severe weather. That includes the place where you'll go for safety and shelter. If you're at home, the safest spot is in the middle of the house, away from doors or windows. If you're in your car and you know there's a tornado nearby, you need to get out of it fast. Officials say you're actually safer on the ground than you are in any vehicle.

If you're traveling in a car and you see a tornado, here's the message. "We try to encourage everyone to get out of the vehicle if you're on the road try to lay down face first in a low lying area or a ditch," said Comanche County Public Information Officer Chris Kilmer. But if you're in a house, he said don't even think about leaving. "We encourage people to shelter in place which means stay at your house if you're already there or if you're in a building or business that's structurally sound stay there, if you're not, you're on the road or in your vehicle, seek shelter at the nearest structurally sound location."

Like one of many storm shelters around. In Lawton, there are several all across town. MacArthur High, Shoemaker Center, the YMCA, and Burch Hall at Cameron. "They're spread out across town. That way it's a shorter distance for people who may be on the road. They can get there quicker."

Some people even have their own storm shelters at home. 600 people in Comanche County have registered their shelters with 211. Now emergency officials ask that storm shelter owners welcome others in. "What we want to encourage people to go out and talk to their neighbors. If you have a storm shelter, invite your neighbors. Let them know that they are welcome in the event of severe weather or a tornado to walk across the street, to come down the street, and come to your storm shelter."

The storm shelter locations are for those who don't live in a house or are on the road. In Lawton, shelters are MacArthur High School, the Shoemaker Center, the YMCA, and Burch Hall. Chattanooga's shelter is at the high school, Fletcher's is at the elementary gym, and Geronimo's is at the elementary school.

The YMCA's shelter is only open during working hours. Other shelters will not open until someone is there to open the doors. So officials said it is important to have an alternative plan.