Storm Shelters In Moore Tripled Since May 2013 Tornado

Thursday, April 2nd 2015, 4:43 pm
By: News 9

New estimates show a third of the homes in Moore now have storm shelters.

The number of storm shelters has tripled since the devastating May 2013 tornado.

The city of Moore said about 7,800 homes now have storm shelters. That number was sitting around 2,500 before the May 2013 tornado.

“Our people in our community and our state understand that they do have some risk from severe weather and that there is some action they can take to protect themselves,” said Gayland Kitsch, Moore Emergency Management Director.

Since 2013, homeowners have either paid for a safe room themselves or taken advantage of the American Red Cross/City of Moore ShelterMoore program.

“This is the track of the 2013 storm and those folks had some priority in our program,” Kitch explained as he pointed to a map of storm shelters. “So that's why you see a higher density there,” he added.

Red Cross received so many donations for Moore two years ago that it designated $3.75 million for storm shelter rebates. That meant 1,500 safe rooms for homeowners. Renters were not eligible.

Those who qualified received as much as $2,500 back.

Many people weathered the March 25, 2015 tornado in storm shelters they installed after the 2013 disaster, like Bill Irvin.

“I'm just thankful we are alive,” Irvin told News 9. He and his wife's home had damage and their cars didn't fare well against the flying debris, but they were safe.

“We no more got in there and the garage blew in, all the windows went out, all the power had already gone out,” he added.

“They do have the peace of mind in knowing that when storms brew, they do have a place to put their families,” Kitch explained.

The Red Cross rebate program is now over and the last of the homeowners who were selected should be getting those storm shelters installed in the next month.