Panhandle prepares for tornado evacuations

The City of Amarillo's Office of Emergency Management is offering advice on where Panhandle residents can hide in the case of a tornado.

"The best locations to take shelter in are a basement or a storm shelter if you have one on your residence," said Kevin Starbuck of OEM.

If you don't have a basement or shelter, a local company called EF-5 can help.

"Here at EF-5 we offer 3 different styles of shelters. Above ground, undergarage, and underground," said EF-5 Owner Darrel Podzemny.

"The above ground shelter is constructed of a quarter-inch thick steel. They've got a 500,000 pound hold down rating so they're as safe as the underground shelters in a tornado storm."

Podzemny said their undergarage shelters also make a quick evacuation easy.

"They're nice because you don't have to go out of your house to get into shelter and it's underground. We just drill the garage floor out and set these in and pour concrete around them," said Podzemny.

If you're looking to evacuate with a larger group, an outdoor underground shelter may be the perfect fit.

"You could get 20 to 25 people in that, so they're a larger application underground," said Podzemny.

Podzemny said it's never too late to plan ahead.

"It's just like insurance, you might not need it for 2 to 3 years but you know a time will come," said Podzemny. "We're in tornado alley, so it's just a matter of time before we have another storm here like they had in Oklahoma."


f you don't own a tornado shelter, OEM's Kevin Starbuck said there are some alternatives.

"If you don't, then you need to identify a small interior room in your home and move toward that location immediately."