Why Public Shelters May Not Always Be The Safest Bet - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Why Public Shelters May Not Always Be The Safest Bet During A Storm

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Gerry Tarver, with the Tulsa Fire Department. Gerry Tarver, with the Tulsa Fire Department.
Damage in Wagoner County Wednesday. Damage in Wagoner County Wednesday.
Damage near Haskell Wednesday. Damage near Haskell Wednesday.

Ashli Sims, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma --  Dozens of people called emergency officials Tuesday night, and even the News on 6, seeking shelter from the storm.

The city of Tulsa does not have any public storm shelters.

See full coverage of the Oklahoma Tornado Outbreak

"Well, they wanted to know where can we shelter? And they wanted to know, can we go to a fire station? And of course we said no, because that's a busy time for us ourselves," Gerry Tarver, with the Tulsa Fire Department, said.

Tulsa County Emergency Management says there is no public shelter and it would be nearly impossible to build one big enough to house the city.

Even if there were lots of smaller shelters, experts say going too far to seek one is risky.

"Time is of the essence," Travis Meyer, News on 6 Chief Meteorologist, said. "Most of the tornado warnings are closing in on 20 minutes. But still, by the time you do everything that's necessary. You'll be in a car, which is one of the most deadliest places to be."

Chief Meteorologist Travis Meyer says that's what happened during a Missouri tornado, back in 2003. Pierce City residents tried to take shelter in an old armory. It was destroyed and folks trying to get in were hurt and even killed.

"Literally the shelter was full. You can't get any more people in the shelter. And the people are in the parking lot trying to find something else," Meyer said.

Meyer said the solution is to shelter in place. If you don't have a safe place in your home, talk to your neighbors and work out a plan, long before severe weather strikes.

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