Prepare your storm shelters before severe weather hits

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - As we prepare for that severe weather, it's important you have a safe room or storm shelter ready to go just in case.

After years of thinking about installing a storm shelter at his home, Lawton Police Detective Charlie Whittington said this year, he reached out to T2T Storm Shelters and finally made the decision to purchase one.

"With me being a police officer, there may be times where I'm called to service to assist during an emergency situation. I need to know that my family is safe. I have a brand-new boy, that's something I need to have squared away before I went out to work. I wouldn't be any good to anybody wondering if my family was OK," Whittington said.

Whittington said having the shelter gives him that peace of mind. That's why before these storms come in, he and his family made sure their shelter is stocked with everything they could possibly need.

"Cases of water, we have MREs, a weather radio, lights, stuff like that. Just stuff that will keep someone safe and comfortable for the time being if something was to happen, if the house collapses, they would be ok for a couple hours or even a couple of days if need be," Whittington said.

Comanche County Emergency Management Public Information Officer Ashleigh Hensch said you'll want to have three-days-worth of food and one gallon of water per person, per day, for every person, and animal that will be in the shelter. Plus, Hensch said it's not just what goes into the shelter that's important, but also what you take out.

"For most of us, our storm shelters just collect dust for most of the year or they collect items. As we get into storm season, we want to make sure our storm cellars or our storm shelters are cleaned out so there's space for humans," Hensch said.

Hensch said you'll want to clean and stock those shelters well before a storm and you should also register your shelter with the county by calling the Emergency Management office.

"The idea is we'll have a list of storm shelters that may have been affected so when we get our search and rescue teams together, we'll know who to go to and where those storm shelters are at," Hensch said.

Hensch said you'll also want to make sure you take a weather radio and a cell phone into your shelter with you. Plus, you'll want to have a radio in your home to alert you of when it's time to take shelter. Storm sirens are not meant to alert people in their homes of danger, but only to let those who are outside know they need to seek shelter.

Copyright 2018 KSWO. All rights reserved.