tornado shelter

Eudora News and

Recently, we have all seen the stories about the devastating tornadoes in Joplin, MO and Reading, KS.  These two communities were decimated by the destructive power of  natural disasters.

Shortly after the rash of storms hit the Midwest, Terry M. of Eudora wrote into and asked this simple question:

Do we have anyplace in town to go if there is a Tornado?

The short answer is no. We contacted Eudora Police Chief Grady Walker and put the question to him.

“We do not have any FEMA approved shelters available and open 24hrs a day to the public” Walker said.  “The reason for that is FEMA regulations are very specific about public shelters and it also comes down to a liability issue.”

Walker added that most municipalities, including Lawrence and other surrounding communities, likewise do not have public shelters for a disaster such as this.

Walker offered the following tips for citizens in case of a tornado warning:

-To prepare your household, pick a room where household members as well as pets can stay safe. Ideally, the room should be in a basement or underground shelter.  If that’s not available, pick a room in the interior of the house with no windows. Create a household tornado drill and make sure everyone knows what to do.

-And don’t forget to practice your drill. Put together an emergency stockpile kit and store it somewhere you can best access it during an emergency.

-In preparing for tornadoes, secure large appliances, such as the water heater, as well as large, top-heavy pieces of furniture. Mark where utility switches are located so that they can be turned off if you have enough time. Consider storing important documents or copies of documents in a fire and waterproof safe.

-If you’ll need help during an emergency, ask someone nearby if she or he will assist you. Think about giving that person a spare key to your home in case of such emergencies.

FEMA has more information on it’s web site about things people can do to prepare themselves in the event of a tornado. These are good things to review and keep in mind if the unthinkable were to ever happen.

Both Eudora and Douglas County have disaster response plans to deal with the aftermath of a disaster.  According to Chief Walker, these plans are currently being reviewed for accuracy and any necessary updating.

Another worthwhile tip we learned that we wanted to pass along to readers:  Cell phone towers may go down and communication can be limited, but texting should continue to work even with the loss of cell towers. You may not be able to call someone with your cell phone, but you should be able to get a text message through.