It’s no surprise that a proposal to require owners and developers of mobile home parks to install storm shelters has been met with opposition from the park owners.
The parks don’t mind the expense. They don’t want the liability that comes with providing a shelter that may fail in the event of a catastrophic storm.
Lawmakers are studying the issue in hopes of writing legislation that would exempt park owners or developers from liability in case a shelter failed.
Meanwhile, Norman leaders are wrestling with the issue of storm shelters. Longer warnings give more people time to seek out shelter. Our three emergency shelters were overrun May 24.
Residents sought out buildings on campus, the YMCA, OU library and even downtown buildings that have basements. When residents were turned away at full shelters or closed buildings, some panic ensued.
Norman’s fire chief said they estimate 10,000 to 15,000 residents were driving around looking for a safe place. It’s likely the safe place they left at home would have been better than driving around.
The issue of pets has also come up, with some residents complaining that the spaces in shelter should not have been taken up by family dogs and cats.
Norman long ago abandoned any idea that enough shelters could be designated for all 100,000-plus of us. The best advice is to have a plan and a designated safe spot in your home or nearby. We won’t always have several hours warning time.