safe rooms

David Slane and Danni Legg (center) ask the public for petition signatures as a "last ditch effort" to get a school safe room issue on a future ballot.
Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Tornado Project

A group that wants storm shelters in every Oklahoma school has spent the last 90 days gathering signatures to get its initiative petition on the ballot. Take Shelter Oklahoma is still tens of thousands of signatures short of the required amount, but  proponents now have more time than they originally thought. 

Wesley Fryer / Flickr Creative Commons

After last year’s tornadoes in central Oklahoma, FEMA allocated $4 million in hazard mitigation funding for communities to safeguard against future severe weather.

The City of Moore didn’t qualify for that money because of an expired hazard mitigation plan. Moore has since updated the plan and is now eligible for future FEMA money. But it doesn’t look like officials plan on applying for that funding any time soon. 

Kate Carlton

Tornado season has returned once again, and after the experience of last year, many Oklahomans are re-assessing their safety plans and prepping their designated refuge areas. 

For some people, that just means cleaning out their safe room. But for others, this weekend’s tornado scare was a reminder that they still haven’t gotten funding they were promised to build safe rooms. 

Karen Stark has lived in Norman for decades. She’s seen her fair share of storms. But it wasn’t until just a few years ago that she finally decided it was time to install a safe room in her house.

hyku

Kathy Turner works with Take Shelter Oklahoma.  The group wants to build safe rooms to protect students from tornadoes like the one that destroyed Briarwood and Plaza Towers Elementary Schools in Moore.  Turner says her experience as a former school administrator showed her how important government funding can be.