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Final Word: Aren’t saved lives worth cost of underground shelter?

Is anyone else surprised by the figure of 10 percent … 10 percent of residents of Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas have someplace underground to escape to in the path of a tornado like the one that devastated Moore on Monday?

I was watching a local TV reporter and he gave that figure, albeit anecdotally, and I was stunned.

When we spoke with KTAR’s Connie Weber on Monday, she mentioned that the soil in the area makes it difficult to build a basement (Connie grew up in Kansas and worked in Oklahoma City). That’s understandable.
And digging a basement anywhere is an added expense.
But when you live in an area where the annual average number of tornado touchdowns is more than 50, shouldn’t EVERYONE have access to a basement? Especially schoolchildren.

We have fire codes that dictate how many people can occupy a structure and how many ways a person can get out of a public building.

Why is there no mandatory underground shelter law in a place like Moore, Okla.?

Before you start to quote the tax dollars it will take or private investment required to build such shelters, think about this: Cost estimates for the damage in and around the tornado-ravaged area are around $1 billion.
Who do you think picks up the tab for that?
We all do.

And when it comes to keeping kids safe, all schools should have the best.

If your child went to school on the top floor of a high rise, would you be OK with the fact that there were no staircases in the event of a fire?

I didn’t think so.