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Walters Storm Shelter Registry Could Save Lives

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Walters, Ok_Emergency responders in Walters are asking everyone with a storm shelter to have it registered.  They say the information could save a life someday.

Clarence Bivins, the assistant fire chief, says although storm shelters save lives, they can become buried beneath tornado debris making it impossible for first responders to locate survivors in need of help.

Walters resident Bob Johnson says his storm shelter is the first place he and his wife will go if a tornado is spotted nearby.

But after seeing the tornado devastation near Oklahoma City last month, he realized his garage and huge pecan tree towering over the shelter could be a problem.  That's why he registered his storm shelter last week.  "Let them know there's one back here, if it blows the garage on it or something," Johnson said.

Bivins says it's a smart move. "I am going to be one of the one's that's out there actually doing search and rescue...and going door-to-door or lot-to-lot if it whips a slab clean."

He says the shelter registration idea was brought up last year when the city was pre-planning for natural disasters such as a tornado.

The city started a few months ago and so far, of the nearly 13-hundred homes in Walters, about 150 have registered their storm shelters with the city.

The process for registering your storm shelter is easy. Just contact city hall, give the clerk your address and where the storm shelter is located.

The city will make a grid of where the storm shelters are located. The list will only be used for rescues and safety not for commercial marketing.

Several other communities also have storm shelter registries.  To find out if there's one in your area; contact your city hall, or county emergency management office.

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