Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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May 14, 2014

Shelter sign up going well — With the severe storm season now here an effort continues to get as many shelters in Garvin County registered just in case.

It’s been a handful years since the push began to get the private storm shelters in the county registered.

The idea behind it is to allow first responders to know where to look if the potential rescue of residents is needed after a devastating tornado.

Those efforts in recent weeks have been paying off with even more shelters getting signed up.

“It’s gone up by about 100,” said Rhonda Moseley of the Garvin County commissioners’ central office in the country courthouse in Pauls Valley.

“It’s taken off pretty good. The response was good,” she said, referring to the recent public attention being given to the registrations.

With this recent wave of sign-ups it brings the total number of registered shelters to more than 350 across the county.

“We’re plotting them on a map, putting them in a binder, putting them in a data base,” Moseley said.

“I pray we never have to use this, but we have it just in case.”

What the campaign is actually doing is plotting the GPS coordinates for homes in the Garvin County area that have shelters.

In the event of an extreme weather event, such as a large storm packed with tornadoes, first responders sweeping through the area afterwards will know where the shelters are located as they look to assist residents.

The effort is led by emergency management officials through the commissioners’ office.

Emergency Management Director Bud Ramming says having the information on the shelters in one place allows for help to come faster after a storm passes through the area.

“It lets us know for sure where the shelters are and how many people we should be looking for after a tornado,” Ramming said.

“I would also encourage people who don’t have shelters to still register with us,” he said.

“In case a tornado does hit it would assist in the search and rescue of people.”

It’s also encouraged residents without a shelter to have a plan of what to do for those times when they absolutely need to seek cover from a storm.

To find out more about the registrations call or drop by the commissioners’ courthouse office during regular weekday hours.

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