Severe weather: Safe room registration

Safe rooms protect you from severe weather, but what happens after a tornado hits and debris covers your storm shelter?
Registering your safe room is important to ensure emergency responders are able to check on you after a storm. 
Officials with the Wichita Falls Fire Department said 2,264 storm shelters have already been registered in the county.
The process is free and can be done over the phone or online.
       
Just think if your house is destroyed and everything is lying on top of it. We have to know where we're going to start digging to be able to find the shelter, said Kathy Bazile, WFFD Administration Secretary.

Bazile said it is important to give specific directions to your location when registering your safe room.
       
Don't just say it is in the kitchen, because in the event of a tornado and the house is destroyed we don't know where the kitchen is if everything is on top of it, said Bazile.
Wayne Bullington, American Tornado Shelter Association certified installer and builder, said under and above ground safe rooms need to be registered and 
have an exact GPS location.
       
If you buy a certified shelter or a rebate shelter your installer should help you come up with those GPS coordinates, said Bullington.
Rebate shelters are safe rooms where a portion of the cost is paid with government grants, and these shelters have to be registered.
However Wichita County officials said there is a waiting list to receive this grant, and those who are interested in applying for assistance need to know one thing.
       
You have to apply for the shelter to get your rebate acceptance letter before you can install your shelter, said Bullington.

He adds in your safe room you should keep water, nonperishable food items and important documents like copies of your drivers license and social security card.
Children should be familiar with the storm shelter, so if a disaster occurs they will be a little more comfortable in the location.

Officials with the WFFD want to remind residents all the information you give to register your safe room is private.

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