VIDEO: News 9 Tours OKC Bunker Command Center
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma City officials gave News 9 an exclusive look at an underground world of communication as meteorologists continued to monitor threats of tornadoes.
During emergencies, Oklahoma City activates a 7,000 square foot bunker communication center. It is located near the Oklahoma City Zoo and was built during the Cold War for protection during a nuclear attack.
"The distance from the roof to … to the [ground] surface … is probably only about 12 feet," emergency manager Lt. Frank Barnes said.
Heavy doors and walls make the facility one of the safest places to be during a tornado. Barnes says anywhere from three to four dozen people will be underground during emergencies like tornadoes. The facility's official name is the Regional Multi-Agency Coordination Center. It handles county, city and medical response -- including a backup 911 center.
The center was originally designed to allow people to live underground for long periods of time. Old dormitories are now filled with desks and computers. Restrooms use submarine technology to pump waste water from a holding tank to the city's sewer system. It's a half-century-old building that still does the trick.
Barnes says city employees are on call 24/7 to activate the center when necessary.