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Register Your Storm Shelter Before Severe Weather Hits

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Experts said it is important to register your storm shelter so emergency crews will know where to look in case of severe weather. Experts said it is important to register your storm shelter so emergency crews will know where to look in case of severe weather.
The average price to install a storm shelter is about $3,500. The average price to install a storm shelter is about $3,500.

By Kirsten McIntyre, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- With tornado season here, many Oklahomans are getting prepared before the storms hit by making sure they have a safe place to go in case of severe weather.

Being underground or in a safe room is the best place to be during a tornado, but what happens if one hits and you're left trapped by debris? To avoid that, officials said it's a good idea to register your shelter.

Outside one home in Edmond on Tuesday, a crew was at work installing a storm shelter, right in time for severe weather season.

"The first storm warning we get immediately flooded with calls. It's busy from then on," said Tucker Shaw, Smart Safe Tornado Shelters.

Before the job is done, Shaw said he makes sure homeowners know to register their shelter. Many Oklahoma towns want them registered, so first responders know where to look.

"Instead of just randomly searching for people, they know they have a shelter. They know where the shelter is so they know there's a good chance people are in there, and they will make sure they're out," Shaw said.

Sgt. Frank Barnes is the Emergency Manager for Oklahoma City. He said if a tornado hits, search and rescue crews can immediately access where shelters or safe rooms are located. Their mobile computers allow them to do that, even amidst the chaos.

"That allows us to know where to start looking under the debris for the doors to those safe rooms of those shelters," Barnes said.

Registering shelters sounded like a good idea for Kellie Marquez. She said she can't imagine being stuck underground for too long because she gets claustrophobic.

"It would be good especially for people who live alone or an older couple that doesn't have anybody checking up on them," Marquez said.

Meanwhile, for Shaw, his business is all about getting people prepared.

"People say they don't hit over here or there, that's nonsense. They'll hit anywhere anytime, no one knows," Shaw said.

The average price to install a storm shelter is around $3,500.

If your storm shelter or safe room isn't registered, experts said the best advice is to check with your city or county to find out how to do that.

Meanwhile, some cities make registering your shelter easy by doing it online.

Edmond residents can register their storm shelters online, here.

The City of Nichols Hills offers a storm shelter registration form online.

City of Norman Storm Shelter Registration

Oklahoma City residents, register your storm shelter, here.

Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office offers registration online for Oklahoma County residents. Register here.

Bixby -- Bixby Police Department -- Residential Storm Shelter Registry

Broken Arrow -- City of Broken Arrow -- Storm Shelter Registration

Glenpool -- Community Development Department -- 918-322-5409

Muskogee -- Muskogee Fire Department -- 918-687-5483

Owasso -- City of Owasso -- Storm Shelter Registration

Tulsa & Unincorporated Tulsa County -- Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency -- 918-596-9899

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