Sulphur steps up their storm warning and safety system

SULPHUR, OK -- As Texomans gear up for another tornado season just around the corner one community is taking a proactive approach for any disaster that may come their way. Kristen Shanahan was in Sulphur, Oklahoma today to see how they are stepping things up.

Dozens of tornados touched down in Oklahoma last spring destructing homes, schools and lives. That is why the Sulphur Fire Department, along with the city are doing several things to increase the safety of their community.

The devastation left behind by tornadoes like the EF3 that ripped through Tushka last April and the EF4 that hit Lone Grove in February of 2009 motivated Sulphur Fire Chief Danny Cox to ask the city to upgrade the city's storm warning and safety system before severe weather season arrives again.

"They seem to be getting worse every year. That's why we've done so much with the storm sirens," Cox said.

Just a few weeks ago two sirens were replaced downtown and a new one was put up just west of town. That means Sulphur now has a total of six sirens.

Shelly Sawatzky with the city's Chamber of Commerce says this will not only protect local citizens, but the millions of tourists that visit every year.

"If they're here and storm comes through they don't have a clue where to go. If they're out camping that may be the only warning that they have," Sawatzky said.

Cox says they are also mapping all private storm shelters so they will know where to look for survivors if homes and buildings are destroyed.
They are also planning to build more community storm shelters.

Cox and Sawatsky say it is rewarding to know the project could help save lives.

"I really feel like that our community is doing as much as we possibly can to prepare, and that's the key. You know there's no way you can stop a tornado, but you can protect yourself from a tornado," Sawatsky said.

"You never feel like you can just prepare for anything, but we're getting there," Cox said.

Chief Cox says if you have a private shelter in the Murray County area to please let the Sulphur Fire Department know so they can find you, if a disaster hits.


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