Cherokee County encourages opening storm shelters to spotters an - KOAM TV 7

Cherokee County encourages opening storm shelters to spotters and responders through registration

One thing we always learn with weather...expect the unexpected. And for spotters and responders, those sudden changes can become dangerous. But in Cherokee County, registering your storm shelter and allowing spotters and responders to take shelter with you could make the difference between life and death.

"We bought one when we bought a double wide house trailer back in 04, is when we purchased our storm shelter for fear that if something happened we couldn't protect our family." says Rebecca Brassart, a resident of Columbus, KS.

Her shelter is designed to protect against nature's elements...but when the worst hits, it's important to be prepared.

"One of the things we've seen in the Picher tornado and the Joplin tornado is a lot of people were safe in their storm shelters, but they were trapped in them and they couldn't get out." says Cherokee County Emergency Manager, Jason Allison.

Cherokee County Emergency Management has been reminding citizens to register their storm shelters so emergency crews can locate it.  
If a severe weather event should roll through Cherokee county, officials can find the registered shelters based on the close proximity that they have to the address. There's free app's on your smart phone that can determine your exact latitude and longitude and be accurate with just a couple feet

Something new on the registration form, owners are asked permission for responders and spotters to take shelter if they are in danger.

"Most of the time we try to keep our spotters at a distance so they aren't caught up in that, but you know as well as I do that the storms will change directions and if it catches you off guard, then they have a second avenue for a place to take safety." Allison says.

"Obviously we keep ours unlocked all the time, so anyone can seek shelter. Neighbors, emergency responders, whoever may need to seek shelter can take shelter in that and be safe." Brassart says.

If you would like to register your storm shelter within Cherokee County, you can download the form by clicking here, or visiting the link below:

Forms are also available at the Cherokee County Courthouse.
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