WHAT OTHERS SAY: Tornado leads to identification of rural shelters

Monday, September 19, 2011 | 6:52 p.m. CDT; updated 7:20 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 19, 2011

Technology will soon allow county emergency officials to identify safe rooms and storm shelters on rural properties.

It’s another idea spawned after the deadly May 22 tornado in Joplin.

Jasper County Emergency Services dispatchers are gathering information on the location of storm shelters in the county so emergency responders have those details in case of a storm or other disaster.

From experience, we know some people found themselves trapped in their basements or cellars after the walls of their home collapsed.

Once the information is collected, the county can make it part of an alert. If a first responder were dispatched to the location, he would be told if there is a shelter on the property.

Grandma’s root cellar, in some rural areas, is still the safest place in a tornado but could be hard to find if rescuers were trying to find the occupants of the house. Now, all that information will be available on the computer screen.

Once all the information is gathered, it will be added to the agency’s new computer-aided dispatch system.

It’s a lifesaving move.

Copyright The Joplin Globe. Reprinted with permission.

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