A local rural fire protection district is urging its surrounding community to report storm shelters
KSN’s Joie Bettenhausen joins us live in the newsroom.
Joie, why are they asking people to do this?
Austin and Jessica, in light of recent severe weather, the fire protection district wants to have on hand a list of residential and business storm shelters in the area.
That way, first responders know where to go during an emergency.
“It would help us help them. That’s our main goal here.” says Chief Josh Craig, Tri-Cities Fire Protection District
The Tri-Cities Fire Protection District in Purcell is calling on all residents in the area to report their address and location of a storm shelter or safe place, so that first responders can find people in an emergency.
“Here about a week ago, we had a possible tornado come through. The Weather Service ended up saying it was strong winds, but we had quite a bit of damage across our district, so just thinking about it, you know knowing where to go to look for people if something does happen would be great.” continues Craig
Currently, the fire protection district doesn’t have any record of those shelters if an emergency were to occur.
They would just drive door to door and around the 56 miles the district covers looking for people.
So, in previous weather events, not having a plan has proved difficult for firefighters.
“Whenever we went throught the Joplin tornado and various other ones that we’ve been around over the years, it’s very hard to find anything if you don’t already know it’s there. Landmarks are gone a lot of times and there’s a lot of debris around.” says Jacob Good, Tri-Cities Fire Protection District
Even though this idea is not unique to the Four States, having a plan in place would help volunteers in rural areas, like the Tri-Cities District covers.
“It’s happened in other places before and I know Jasper county 911 had worked on a deal like this before, but I don’t know to what success you know any of those had, but we would hope that this will workout out of here because it’s kind of a rural area. It is a little hard to get to in some cases, especially if trees are down in the road or whatever.” adds Good
So if you live in Alba, Jasper, or Purcell, you should report your safe place or storm shelter to the district.
“They can either contact us at the station, come in in person, or they could call us at 417-525-4444 or they can call JASCO at the dispatch center and report it there as well.” adds Craig
Austin and Jessica, only two families have reported their storm shelters in the area, since the start of this campaign Monday morning.
And many fire fighters in the district hope that many more will give them a call.
Then they will not only be able to make rescue searches quicker, but also be more efficient when disaster strikes.