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March 7, 2013

It's never to early to prepare for storms

DUNCAN —  

National Severe Storm Preparedness week continues to run through Saturday. An initiative by the National Weather Service, National Severe Storm Preparedness week serves to raise awareness on safety practice during storm seasons. 
“Making plans now just might save lives when floodwaters are rising or a tornado is bearing down on your home,” Molly Hall, Executive Director of the Energy Education Council’s Safe Electricity Program, said.
In Stephens County, preparation is not limited to just one week. Stephens County Emergency Director Gary Ball and Assistant Emergency Director Jim Pryor have recently been working on the installations of 150 safe rooms within the county. 
The installation was about 75 percent funded by a grant. While 150 safe rooms are included in the grant, Pryor said many families often share their safe room or shelter, which expands the impact each room has iin the community.
“Each room has their safety kit in them,” he said. “They have some food, radio and a safety items in there.”
Approximately half of the safe rooms built have been for Duncan residents while the others have been for other areas of the county.
In April, the Stephens County Emergency Services will once again be partnering up with the Corps of Engineers at Waurika Lake to present safety techniques to area students. The program, which focuses on water safety, will be presented to every fourth grade class n the county.
Additionally, the area schools routinely practice emergency drills such as fire, tornado and intruder drills. 
Stephens County Emergency Services is also asking that anyone that has an existing, unregistered safe room or shelter call the office and register it. The objective is to be able to map out all the storm shelters in Stephens County. In the case of a natural disaster, emergency personnel will be able to check the welfare of those using each shelter.
“We highly encourage people to register them,” Pryor said. 
To register the safe rooms, call 255-3411 or 255-4951.

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