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21 May 2013 @ 07:39 am
No Tornado Shelters for Many  
Many people who live in tornado-prone areas do not have shelters, neither as part of their homes (trailers, apartments) or in their city or neighborhoods. So when you see people asking "Why didn't they get to shelter?" please inform them that we need to figure out a way to provide such shelter. If we can require earthquake standards for new builds in CA, we can require shelters be a part of any new apartment building, home or trailer court. We could make neighborhood shelters a priority and here's an idea, why don't we start making corporations pay their full taxes to help fund it? But don't blame people who had no shelter for not getting to one. Our warning system is not the problem.

I am reminded of the poor people who had no cars to evacuate before Katrina and how we failed to provide enough transportation for them. In any disaster it is the poor people who suffer the most. But in tornado alley, even many middle class people have no shelters, cannot afford to build one, and cities are not providing them either (because they don't have the funds).

Here is one example of a city addressing questions about shelter and why they can't provide it: http://www.ci.norman.ok.us/sites/default/files/WebFM/Norman/City%20Manager/Shelter%20FAQ.pdf
danaewintersdanaewinters on May 22nd, 2013 05:41 pm (UTC)
The story this morning about the elementary school got to me the most. How does a childrens school in THE most likely place for a tornado to hit, have nowhere safe for those kids to be? How is that NOT a top priority in the school budget? I realize that school budgets are extremely strapped, but when it's literally a life and death issue, it seems like that should've been covered at some point.
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on May 22nd, 2013 06:48 pm (UTC)
it's the soil in the ground. but yeah, there should have been some kind of safe room or something. then of course there's the $$ needed to build these kinds of things.
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on May 22nd, 2013 06:47 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on June 5th, 2013 07:47 am (UTC)
Sustainable housing
Firstly, long time reader of your blog/NLQ stories. Thank you for your candor. I have truly enjoyed your writings.

Now, this post is just down my alley...no pun intended. I did my senior research project for my BS in Emergency Management on building sustainable housing in tornado alley. The tools are out there, the funding IS out there, what isn't widely available is the knowledge that this is an achievable goal. There are a few specific FEMA grants (they are called Pre Disaster Mitigation), SBA loans with little to no interest and private foundations that can help. I say this with complete confidence as I am also a grant writer and in my research on pre-disaster mitigation, I have found that disaster resilient homes tend to cost only around 10% more than traditional housing. A cost that can be offset by surviving just one tornado/windstorm.

One type of housing that is gaining popularity is called Insulated Concrete Form (ICFs)homes.

Please check out this link as it's something I have been following for several years and have done case studies on it.
And a wiki article that is actually accurate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greensburg,_Kansas#May_2007_tornado

In a nutshell, the community was unremarkable and was seeing a steep decline in population due to lack of job opportunities and other issues. In 2007, an EF5 tornado leveled the town. It was so bad that people who had lived there all their lives, as well as rescue workers, needed GPS units to tell them where they were location wise. It was bad. The epitome of wiped off the map.
Instead of building traditional housing, the town came together and investigated housing options that could stand up to future storms. They are in the heart of tornado alley and another hit was inevetable. In fact, 1 year later, almost to the day, another tornado just missed them by a few miles.
Now, the town is a business incubator and an example for the rest of the country.

I hope with all my heart that Texas can find a way to duplicate this success story.

What this community has done is remarkable. They chose to reinvent themselves and become resiliten. The simple fact is that everyone has to live somewhere. And every place on earth has its own risks. We, as a society, need to adapt to this as opposed to trying to force Mother Nature to bend to our needs. (Don't even get me started on the levies in New Orleans!!)

Anyways, so sorry to get on my soapbox about this, but this is something that I know a few things about and I wanted to share with you.

Thank you for allowing me to comment on this and for taking the time to read it. (and sorry for the typos!)

Jessica :)

Tapatitapati on June 5th, 2013 10:17 am (UTC)
Re: Sustainable housing
Thanks for sharing these resources and I hope someone in tornado alley (and I have some Oklahomans in my facebook friends' list along with my native Iowa friends) can use it. We know in California that we have to build for earthquakes and it should be the same in every location that is subject to natural disasters. Those Californians who build in areas of fire danger are also thinking more about what roofing they use and what kind of landscaping surrounds their home.

Thanks also for your kind words about my writing. It's always good to get feedback because when you sit here with your computer you don't always know how your words will be received.