OKC firefighters stress importance of registering your storm shelter ahead of severe weather season

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – With spring severe weather season quickly approaching, the Oklahoma City Fire Department is stressing the importance of registering your shelter.  

The Oklahoma City Fire Department said if you have a storm shelter, it’s important to get it registered in case of an emergency, and you can do it all right from your phone in a matter of minutes. 

Oklahoma City resident, Susan Abel, knows it is important to have your shelter ready ahead of severe weather season. 

“We have water and a lantern and a flashlight down in the storm shelter. And plus, we have a blanket,” said Abel. 

The Oklahoma City Fire Department said it’s also important to have an evacuation plan early as you may not have a lot of time to prepare when a tornado or storm is approaching. 

If you are not registered, all you need to do is head to OKC.gov and fill out a form

This helps the fire department know where to check if you and your family are trapped when a storm or tornado hits your neighborhood. 

“What this does when we arrive on scene maybe, the aftermath of a tornado, widespread devastation, houses are leveled, and we pull up our computer screen on our fire truck and there’s these little blue dots, and those blue dots indicate people that have a storm shelter… Maybe you have debris piled on top of your storm shelter. It just alerts us. There’s a storm shelter here and we need to dig through the rubble to possibly help somebody that’s trapped. So, it’s a great indication for us,” said Scott Douglas, District Chief, Public information officer, Oklahoma City Fire Department.  

If your storm shelter isn’t registered, Douglas said, “It’s going to prolong the process. We don’t know. Is there a storm shelter? Is it in the garage in the backyard?… So, at that point, we’re digging through the rubble. We have our search dogs searching. So, we just want to be able to get to you as fast as we can and registering your storm shelter is the best way for us to do that.” 

Once a shelter is registered, it doesn’t have to be done again. 

“We’ve gotten it ready, and like the other night when the sirens went off, we were watching the news, but it wasn’t close to us. We had pulled the car forward. We were ready just in case, but we never got into it,” said Abel. 

The city stresses your shelter location is confidential.  

So far, nearly 20,000 shelters have already been registered with the city of Oklahoma City. 

Download our KFOR weather app, 4WarnMe, sooner rather than later so you can stay in the know during severe weather season.  

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