Hilldale Schools Opens Safe Rooms To The Public
MUSKOGEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - There are concerns in some towns, including Muskogee, that there aren't city-approved public shelters.
The superintendent at Hilldale Public Schools opened their three safe rooms to the public on Monday, May 20 as severe weather swept through Oklahoma.
"If they feel threatened or feel they need a place to go, it's here," Erik Puckett said.
Hilldale has an open safe room at each school in the district.
"This is our elementary cafeteria/safe room," Puckett said. "It was built with bond issue money in 2013."
"We just want to be part of the community, a good steward of taxpayer dollars," he continued. "They paid to build these facilities so we feel like it's our duty to open up and provide the community a safe place to go."
Muskogee Emergency Manager Tyler Evans said the city does not own or operate public storm shelters. He said this is first and foremost a safety issue--so people don't drive during severe weather to a shelter that's already full.
Evans also points out that other cities, including Tulsa and Moore--do not have city shelters either.
He said the reason they can't call places like Hilldale Public Schools a city-approved shelter is because it's not up to the city whether or not the district decides to open its doors.