The Shawnee/Pottawatomie County Emergency Management Agency announced an initiative on Friday, June 8, 2001 to catalog the location of all residential safe rooms and underground shelters in Pottawatomie County. This is a voluntary program that will provide a list of the location of shelters to assist fire and rescue personnel in the event of a tornado.
“By submitting information to us, citizens will be assisting us in developing a list of these shelter locations which will be given to the fire departments to assist them in finding these shelters that may be covered in debris, resulting in faster and more efficient rescue efforts.” Donald Lynch, Emergency Management Director said.
The inspiration for this program came from a similar program recently announced in Midwest City. Many residents will remember seeing the piles of debris around homes affected by the May 3, 1999 tornadoes. Fire and rescue personnel spent a good deal of time searching through debris looking for victims who might have been trapped in underground shelters. Having experienced the brunt of the tornado, Midwest City developed a registration program to assist their personnel with easily locating these shelters in case of future tornadoes. “When we heard about the Midwest City program, we thought a similar program would be of great benefit to our county. A couple of days later, Mrs. Betty Rogers called and asked if we had heard about the program. She thought is was a great idea also and volunteered to assist us with the project.” Lynch said.
“We’re delighted that Mrs. Rogers will be assisting us with this project. She will be very helpful to this effort.” Lynch commented.