TULSA, Okla — With the severe weather season quickly approaching, it's important to be prepared with a plan should severe weather hit in your area.
In Oklahoma, it's not a matter of if a tornado will touch down damaging anything in its path it's a matter of when and where.
For this reason, it's important to identify where to shelter, have an emergency kit prepared, and have a warning device.
There are 102 sirens in Tulsa County, according to the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Director, Joseph Kralicek.
TAEMA is looking to add more to that total number to keep residents of Tulsa County safe and informed sooner of any dangerous storms.
“As of right now we do have grant applications out to purchase three additional sirens. We’re waiting to hear back from FEMA as to whether or not those grants have been authorized", Kralicek said.
With how modern homes are being built, they are more energy-efficient which could dampen the sound of the sirens outside.
Kralicek said homeowners should purchase an NOAA weather radio to stay informed.
“What this is, is this is a small device that sits in your house. You can pick them up for about $30 at any big-box retailer and those are designed to be heard indoors. They’re designed to wake you up in the middle of the night", Kralicek said.
He said having this type of radio is important for severe weather season, just like a smoke detector is important for fire safety.
In the case of a tornado warning, Kralicek said you should seek shelter in an interior area of the house, in a storm shelter, or in a certified safe room.
If you are shopping for a safe room for your home, the co-owners of Tornado Alley Armor said you need to be careful when choosing which one to have installed since safe rooms are not federally regulated.
Leslie McGee, Tornado Alley Armor co-owner, told 2 News, “So you do want to make sure when you make your purchase that you’re buying from someone that’s truly following FEMA guidelines because they are just guidelines. There’s no law saying you have to manufacture them the way they say they ought to be.”
She said the best way to ensure a company is following FEMA guidelines is to check the National Storm Shelter Association's member list.
McGee also suggested that if you have a safe room and live within Tulsa city limits, register it with the city.
“If you have a safe room that you can’t get out of by yourself the idea is that the emergency responders will know where to come to dig through the rubble to look for you", McGee said.
Kralicek said there are three different siren tones to learn, and he urges people to visit the City of Tulsa website for more information.
Lastly, Kralicek suggests you download the Tulsa Ready app for information on all disasters as it can help you make your safety plan and safety kit.
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