Residents in a Broken Arrow mobile home park will be a lot safer this tornado season. The park is one of the first in the state to install above ground storm shelters.
The News on 6 first told you about the project when it began last year. News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin takes another look, this time at the finished product.
It's something no one wants to face, a tornado threatening your home. Park resident RL Woods: "Well you just sit there and watch it, your mouth half-open and hope it never happens to you." And when you live in a mobile home that fear is kicked up a notch. Park resident Derrald Holmes: "It's not gonna withstand the wind, we know that. Too many people have lost their lives staying in a mobile home when they should be out seeking shelter."
Owners of Johanna Woods Mobile Home Park wanted to be sure their residents didn't have to go too far. When the weather turns bad and potentially deadly, many people go underground. It's something the park considered, but to provide better access to the elderly and disabled, they went with these state of the art safe rooms. Designed to withstand just about anything Mother Nature can dish out.
Manager Charlotte Brady: "These walls are solid, they're designed to withstand a direct impact of a projectile up to 125 miles an hour and swirling winds of 220 miles an hour." The park started putting up the two rooms last year. Each will fit more than 200 people in a crisis. "We've added bathrooms, we've got a water fountain, we've got benches for the older people, we tell everybody else, hey bring a pillow, bring a stadium cushion, hopefully we're not going to be in here that long."
The rooms are also equipped with air conditioning and cable TV to monitor the latest weather reports.
For residents, the safe rooms are a huge relief. Derrald Holmes: "I think it's one of the greatest things, I just can't praise them enough for what they've done here." RL Woods: "Oh, 100-percent. You might lose your home, but you're not gonna lose your life, now which is more important?"
Park managers say they're thrilled to have the safe rooms, now they just hope they won't have to use them.