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Comanche Co. Emergency Management Preps for Storm

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COMANCHE CO., Okla_ Comanche County road crews are doing what they can to make things as safe as possible for drivers who have to get out in the weather.

Emergency Management Director Clint Wagstaff said both the City of Lawton and the county have sand trucks and road graders positioned across the county. That equipment will help crews get to residents that may get stranded on the roads, but officials urge residents to play it safe and stay inside.

Wagstaff said they're targeting the low-lying areas off of Highway 7 and some of the rural areas on the edge of the county. He also mentioned Old Cache Road, because it has several hills and valleys where snow can pile up. Wagstaff said the county is ready for the storm. He's hoping residents are as well.

He said the county has equipment ready to rescue drivers stranded in the storm, but they should be patient.

"It does not mean we can get to you just because it's pre-positioned," Wagstaff said. "Remember, we've got to get to that equipment too. I don't think it's going to be as bad as 2010, but anytime there's a possibility of blizzard and drifting snow, we need everybody to be safe."

That's why Eastern District Commissioner Gail Turner said they've made arrangements to try and stay ahead of the storm.

"We stage our graders at operator's houses or near their houses over the county," Turner said. "So, we can get in emergency-type situations to respond a lot quicker. That way, they don't have to drive a long way before they can get on to them. It's a lot safer if everybody can get home before this thing hits. When it hit in '10, most people didn't have a chance to get home."

Wagstaff said during the snow storm of 2010, officials had to shut down I-44 just north of Chickasha and down south to the Red River. He said hundreds of drivers were stranded on the highway, many of them in snow drifts. Wagstaff said across Comanche County, about 30 drivers had to be rescued. One of them had been stuck for almost 7 hours.

Driving in this type of weather is a risk Wagstaff said is not worth it.

"It's a good possibility of you being hurt or killed," Wagstaff said. "We did have one fatality during the ‘10 blizzard on the highway. Somebody got out the vehicle and was struck and killed. Remember, if you're stuck, that means we can't get the rescue equipment to you easily. It takes a while to get there. You need to stay home, be safe and enjoy it."

Wagstaff said if you do get stranded on the road, call 911. He said you should also keep your car heater on for as long as possible until rescuers can get to you.

Wagstaff said it's important for residents to prepare for the worst, both outside and indoors. He said it's also a good idea to make sure your windows and doors are insulated and that you have plenty of food and water for your pets.

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