Wagoner County Expo Sees Boost In Tornado Shelter Interest

Saturday, March 28th 2015, 9:52 pm
By: News On 6

Just three days after severe weather barreled through Green Country, a local emergency management agency hosted its annual emergency preparedness expo.

People can check out local emergency responder equipment, learn more on how they save people in disaster situations and get tips on how to prepare for the worst at home.

This is the fourth annual emergency response expo in Coweta and organizers said, since last week's tornado, people aren't just here to enjoy the free fun food and events -- they're also here to prepare for severe weather season.

"Here we've always gone under the stairs or in the bathtub, which is never really very comfortable if something really hits," Eric Kliss said.

Kiss and his family enjoyed the gorgeous weather at the expo, with some very different kind of weather on their minds.

Eric is looking at storm shelters. He was in downtown Tulsa Wednesday when disaster struck. An EF2 tornado hit Sand Springs and heavy winds tore through downtown and West Tulsa.

It was a severe weather system Eric didn't take as seriously as he should have, he said.

“I'm probably a normal Okie,” he said. “I was just going to drive on home about the time it was going to hit and then took one look outside, and then we all hit the basement so it was like a wind tunnel downtown."

But he's not the only one at the expo looking for ways to keep his family safe.

Wagoner County Emergency Management Director Heath Underwood said organizers have seen more interest in storm shelters at the event.

He also said this is a great way to show the community the capabilities of local first responders during natural disasters and for the public to learn more on what they can do as individuals.

"Well, hopefully to get information on how to protect their family, and be able to shelter and pick out the right shelter to better protect their family," Underwood said.

That's exactly the goal Eric is hoping to achieve, and he hopes others consider protecting their families as well this severe weather season.

“I think it's necessary for anyone that lives around here that doesn't already have a basement or someplace to go," Kliss said.