Smaller Communities Prepared For Twisters


Thursday, February 7th 2008, 5:05 pm
By: News On 6


The twister outbreak devastated a number of small towns across the south.  Here in Oklahoma, where tornadoes are always a threat, smaller communities say they are prepared to deal with disaster.  The News On 6's Chris Wright reports given our experience with tornadoes, even less-populated communities say they have the tools to provide plenty of warning for residents.

If Rogers County had to deal with the aftermath of a tornado, like the ones that leveled towns across the south, their command center would be ready.

It's located in the basement of the Rogers County Courthouse.  It's run by emergency management director Bob Anderson.  Despite presiding over a county with only 25,000 people, Anderson says he has all the high-tech toys used by bigger cities.

"It's scary.  Once you get this stuff, you realize what you didn't have before," said Bob Anderson with Rogers County Emergency Management.

Besides its siren warning system and certified storm spotters in the field, Anderson relies on his radar system during severe weather.

OK First is a technology that was developed in Oklahoma with the help of the National Weather Service.

"It gives us the actual live radar feed that they're getting, so we're watching the exact same thing they are," said Bob Anderson with Rogers County Emergency Management.

Rogers County is also working on improving its camera system.

Rogers County plans on installing a few more cameras on buildings, so they can literally see a storm coming from a couple of miles away.

"I can visually, from the basement here, see what's going on outside, and I compare what it's showing there on the cameras with my computers here," said Bob Anderson with Rogers County Emergency Management.

It's all part of system that Bob Anderson says should inspire confidence.  If tornadoes do roll through Green Country, he believes the technology will help save lives.

Because of its warning system, Rogers County has been certified as 'storm-ready' by the government.  If you would like to make sure you are 'storm ready', officials recommend taking a CERT class.  That stands for Certified Emergency Response Training.  The training is offered free of charge by most chapters of the American Red Cross.