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 Source: WTHR.com

NOTE: Original story  contains video package. That story and video can be seen HERE.

Kokomo FD to open fire houses as shelter during storms

Updated: May 26, 2014 7:37 PM EDT
By David MacAnally

KOKOMO, Ind. - The tornadoes that hit Kokomo last fall still have folks fearful.

"Scared to death," says Ramona Reece. "I don't really have a place to go for my safety as well as my husband. Especially if I have my grandchildren."

When the twister hit Kokomo last fall, Ramona and her family "didn't know what to do, where to go to."

To help residents like Ramona, the Kokomo Fire Department has a new plan that will let them leave their mobile homes there and go down Apperson to Station 3 - or any city fire station - and take shelter there anytime the National Weather Service sounds a tornado watch or warning.

"Me and my husband will be wanting to go down and use it," says Ramona.

Kokomo decided against tornado sirens and moved to weather radios. The first radios failed many residents. They have been replaced with more reliable ones. The county now also sends text and phone alerts to residents. Opening firehouses is the newest safety effort.

"There's no place out here you can really go to except the grocery store across there. If it's open," says Bill Smith who understands the risks in mobile homes during tornadoes.

So even though one Kokomo firehouse was damaged in last November's twisters, the Army veteran said he will head to the fire station next time.

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