Comanche County, Oklahoma

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Storm season calls for preparedness



With the spring severe weather season approaching, it’s important for people to knowhow to stay safe if a tornado strikes.

Comanche County Emergency Management Director Clint Wagstaff offered a number of tips for dealing with tornadoes.

First, people need to understand the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A watch means weather conditions are conducive to tornadoes forming. A warning means a tornado has been sighted.
Wagstaff said people need to pay attention to local television or radio stations if severe weather is likely.
Another option, he said, is to purchase a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-approved emergency radio. They are designed to sound an alert if a severe weather warning is issued by NOAA. The devices can be purchased at most large retailers.
“Be sure it has battery backup,” Wagstaff warned, other- wise it will be useless if there is a power failure, which frequently happens during severe weather.
People can also sign up for Nixle, a free service that sends out alerts about emergency situations, including weather, through text messages and e-mails. You can sign up for Nixle at the Comanche County government website,  .
If a tornado warning is issued, people in mobile homes need to evacuate, no matter what, since mobile homes are too flimsy to withstand tornadoes. They should go to the nearest storm shelter or a house or other solid building.
People in houses and other buildings who do not have access to a storm shelter should go to the interior of the building, away from windows. Often a bathroom is a good choice, since the plumbing infrastructure provides added stability.
“Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can,” Wagstaff said.
If you are driving when a tornado hits, get out of the car immediately and seek shelter in a building, or if none is available, a ditch or other low point.
He said people should also make an emergency kit and keep it where they can get to it at a moment’s notice. The ? kit should ? contain enough ready-to-eat food, bottled water and any needed medications to last for three days.
Wagstaff said people should not attempt to go to public storm shelters but should take shelter in their homes if possible. It is statistically safer to “shelter in place” instead of trying to go to a public shelter, he added.
Wagstaff said more people are killed attempting to reach public shelters during a tornado than die while taking appropriate shelter in their homes.
Many public shelters are located in businesses that may not be open when a tornado hits, he said.
He said people who live in an apartment complex or mobile home park should contact the manager to see what safety plans and designated shelters are offered where they live.
Finally, Wagstaff said people who have private storm shelters need to contact Comanche County Emergency Management to register them, so emergency personnel will know where to search for them in the event of a disaster. He said the department does not share information about private storm shelters except with emergency workers if a disaster occurs.

With the spring severe weather season approaching, it’s important for people to know how to stay safe if a tornado strikes.

Comanche County Emergency Management Director Clint Wagstaff offered a number of tips for dealing with tornadoes.



Detention Center to get new cameras


The Comanche County commissioners approved payment for upgrades to the Comanche County Detention Center’s security cameras during a special meeting this week.

The approval was given at a special meeting because all of the necessary paperwork was not completed in time for the regular meeting on Monday morning, commissioners said.

The commissioners at the March 5 regular meeting approved awarding the contract for the security improvements to Sierra Detention Systems.



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