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Durant Emergency Management closes public storm shelter

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 6:17 PM CDT
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DURANT, Okla. (KXII) - Durant Emergency Management announced the closure of the city’s only public storm shelter. Why they’re straying from public shelters.

Wednesday emergency management took to Facebook saying the condition of the Durant shelter isn’t safe. They encourage the community to avoid leaving home in severe weather.

“The time to prepare for that is now,” said City of Durant Public Information Officer, Kelli Simmons.

Simmons said the current city shelter doesn’t meet safety standards. It was last used in January.

“We also want people to know that the actual thing to do in the event of a tornado warning is to shelter in place,” said Simmons.

It’s part of what Durant Emergency Management says is a national push away from public storm shelters.

“A significant number of tornado related deaths occur while people are travelling to a storm shelter whether that be public or somewhere else,” said Simmons.

If you don’t have a storm shelter, but live in a well-constructed building, find an interior room away from windows, or get in the bathtub and cover yourself in blankets or a mattress to protect yourself from debris. If a personal storm shelter is in your budget, it’s recommended.

“Say if you’re in a mobile home and it’s a watch, that’s your opportunity to maybe go to a family member’s house, a neighbor’s house and bunker down with them in a well-constructed building,” said Simmons.

Simmons said it’s a community effort to look out for your family, friends and neighbors.

“Make a list of relatives or neighbors even just a mental list of where a storm shelter is. Get together with your friends. Ask each other hey where do you go, what’s your plan, where does your family bunker down at,” said Simmons.

If you absolutely have to leave home, make plans now and put them into action before the storm.

“Plan ahead of time, don’t wait until sirens are going off and wonder where you’re gonna go,” said Simmons.

Local residents shared their concerns in the comments about having a public shelter, but the city does not anticipate reopening this site in the future.

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