May 26--Mobile home residents in the city now have a secure place to go during severe weather.
The Kokomo Fire Department has announced all six of its stations will now serve as storm shelters to anyone who lives in the city's mobile home parks.
Fire Chief Pat O'Neill said officials decided to open the stations after mobile home residents expressed concerns they didn't have anywhere to go during tornadoes or other severe weather.
"It was a matter of being responsive to something we'd never really considered in the past," he said. "We're just trying to be responsive to the needs."
O'Neill said mobile home residents are some of the most vulnerable during tornadoes, especially if the home isn't anchored down.
"If you live in a mobile home, you'll need alternative shelter," he said. "If you're not comfortable in your mobile home, you can come to the nearest fire station and we'd be happy to shelter you."
O'Neill said the fire stations won't serve as long-term shelters in case of storm damage. He said they will only serve as a place to go if forecasters predict tornadoes or a tornado watch has been issued.
If a mobile home park sustains damage, he said residents will be provided with long-term shelters set up by agencies like the American Red Cross.
City Hall will also be available as a temporary shelter during severe weather.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security advises mobile home residents to get out immediately during tornado threats and take shelter in a building with a strong foundation.
If there is no nearby shelter, residents should take cover on low, protected ground and cover their heads.
Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, email@example.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.
Fire Station Locations: Fire Station #1: 215 W. Superior St. Fire Station #2: 508 E. Center Rd. Fire Station #3: 2016 N. Apperson Way Fire Station #4: 3506 S. Dixon Rd. Fire Station #5: 3108 W. Sycamore St. Fire Station #6: 1717 E. Boulevard
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