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Lawton Residents Don't Have a Disaster Plan

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LAWTON Okla_ If you want a chance of surviving a natural disaster, you have to have a plan, but what if you're not at home? The plan could fall apart.

Monday's tornado hit Moore in mid-afternoon, when the majority of residents were not at home. 7News wanted to know if any southwest Oklahomans have a good plan for when they're away from home and a tornado threatens?

7News Reporter Jonathan Rozelle spoke to about a dozen people, and most did not want to go on camera. They admitted their family has no idea what to do, if they were caught in a natural disaster away from home and couldn't communicate with each other.

A Lawton preschool showed said they have a plan on keeping kids safe if a tornado hit and told us what they would do if cell phone service became useless. Children of Joy Learning Academy take refuge in the school's bathroom during a tornado drill, but what happens to the children once the storm has passed and they can't reach the children's parents?

"All staff members are trained to stay with the group the area is assigned to, and they are responsible to be accountable for all those students until a person who is authorized to pick that child up picks the child up from the center," Principal Amy LaFleur said.

LaFleur said after seeing the tragedy in Moore, it's made her think about her own safety plan if ever caught away from home during a natural disaster. She has a sister with a family in Indiahoma, and her mother lives in Louisiana.

"It is just very important to let a family member who may be local or away from the communal area to know where you are sheltering," LaFleur said. "So, in the event there is destruction as there was in Moore, someone knows where you are. If you can't contact someone, someone knows to look for you."

Styles Ratliff said all of his family lives in Comanche County, and they have discussed what they should do when a natural disaster strikes.

"If we are out there on the road during a severe storm, we know to find shelter or the nearest exit away from it," Ratliff said. "Just survive. Once everything is safe and clear, meet back up at the house and just wait. Hopefully everyone made it."

Daphne Slocum said when it comes to a tornado plan for her and her family of four, they don't really have a plan.

"We have nothing for a tornado," Slocum said. "I have a fire plan, a fire safety plan. We just started talking about that."

Slocum said she plans on talking to her family about a tornado plan.

Red Cross officials say if you can, contact someone before a tornado or huge disaster strikes, so they know where you are. If not, make sure the family knows who to call or a place to meet afterward. The Red Cross also said people should have a disaster kit that will last at least 24 hours. They say that is the average time it takes before emergency responders will reach you after a disaster.

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