Delaware Co. official addresses tornado shelter malfunction

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DELAWARE COUNTY (WCMH) — When outdoor warning sirens at Delaware State Park sound, a radio frequency unlocks a new tornado shelter so people can go inside and take cover.

Or, at least, that’s what is suppose to happen.

Saturday night, two tornado warnings were issued by the National Weather Service for Delaware County, including in the Delaware State Park area. However, several campers reported the shelter remaining closed after the first warning was issued.

“The door was eventually opened with a physical key through Ohio Department of Natural Resources staff,” said Sean Miller, the director of Delaware County Emergency Management on Monday. “When the subsequent warning was issued, the shelter was open and available for camp goers to seek shelter there.”

However, this meant more time standing outside in a dangerous storm.

“Certainly, my number one thought was the safety of those involved, and we are working very hard to rectify this issue,” Miller said. “We take it very seriously.

“This is one of these things that really is of the utmost importance to us because we think a lot about the safety of our residents and visitors as well,” he added.

The shelter was officially unveiled last month. The 75-feet wide, 28-feet tall dome can accommodate up to 853 people. It is designed to withstand winds of more than 200 miles per hour.

The best advice, with Ohio’s active weather pattern, is to make sure that you’re prepared and know where to take shelter if you need to.

“The two state parks in Delaware County do have sirens, having multiple means in place is a good idea,” Miller said.

The problem has been fixed and the emergency management department should know more about what the issue was Tuesday.

Make sure that you not only have multiple ways of getting alerted about severe weather but that one of those methods will wake you up if you are sleeping.

One of those methods can be as simple as downloading the NBC 4 Weather app for your smartphone.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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