Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2007

City council talks tornado shelter plans

June 7, 2007

Making sure the tornado shelter situation in Baldwin City works was a topic for the Baldwin City Council at Monday's meeting.

In the past, two shelters have been used when tornados threaten -- the basements in the First United Methodist Church in downtown and Baldwin Junior High School. But, to insure that those places are available and the procedures are in place for operation, Council Member and Safety Committee Chairman Tony Brown met with representatives.

"We met with (the Rev.) Pam Morrison (FUMC) and (Supt.) Paul Dorathy about use of their facilities for tornado shelters if God forbid we had that happen here," said Brown. "We're working on a system to notify these people."

The city has keys to the buildings to open them in case of tornado warnings, but there currently is no way to know that someone will be there to supervise.

"I don't want to open those places up without someone to be there," said City Administrator Jeff Dingman.

Brown said Fire Chief Allen Craig is working on a system for notifying the school and the church when warnings have been issued.

Dingman said City Hall has fielded questions regarding the shelters.

"In the wake of Greensburg, people have been asking what we do," he said in regards to the May 4 EF5 tornado that destroyed 95 percent of the buildings in the southwest Kansas town, claimed 13 lives and injured scores of others.

Brown said another concern is notification of people who would need shelter, such as those living in mobile homes and in homes with no basements.

"What Chief Craig is concerned about is by the time the (tornado) sirens go off, the weather is here," said Brown. "We need to do something before that. When something happens, this is the plan."

"It sounds like you've got a long way to go," said Mayor Gary Walbridge.

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