A Garvin County health facility is now looking at its own fall-back option for those times when threatening weather approaches.

No real action has been taken just yet when it comes to the Garvin County Health Department moving forward with plans to get its own storm shelter.

Lori Fisher, a business manger for the region that includes Garvin County, told county commissioners this week a shelter is being considered because employees at the facility in Pauls Valley no longer have a safe place from storms.

The reason for that, she said, is Pauls Valley's neighboring hospital closed its doors last fall.

“We depended on the hospital in the past, but the hospital isn't open anymore,” Fisher said.

“We're just sitting ducks out there as far as the safety of our employees.”

In the past Fisher says their shelter was typically the conference room of the hospital.

With that option out the plan is to someday construct a steel building with a brick exterior that would serve as a storm shelter for health department employees and any clients who happen to be in the facility when a storm gets potentially dangerous.

“This has been an issue for us for years. We almost had to take shelter two or three weeks ago when a storm came through.”

According to Fisher, the bidding process has already been done with the lowest two in the range of about $10,000, which would be paid for by public health funds.

She stresses this shelter would be available to the seven employees who work daily at the local health department, along with the other more regional workers.

“This won't be a public shelter,” she said. “It will be employees only unless we have clients there.

“A 10- to 15-person above ground shelter should work for us.”

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