Butler County Times Gazette
  • City discusses opening library as shelter during severe weather

  • The El Dorado City Commission discussed storm shelters, specifically Bradford Memorial Library, during their meeting Monday evening.
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  • The El Dorado City Commission discussed storm shelters, specifically Bradford Memorial Library, during their meeting Monday evening.
    Mayor Mike Fagg brought up the issue when he said three or four people in the library area had said they would like to have the library open as a storm shelter. Currently, the library is only open during regular business hours.
    After hours, residents can go to City Hall or the El Dorado Senior Center.
    "I was hoping to bring it up for discussion to see if someone from the city or police department could get a key and open that and see how many people use that in bad weather," Fagg said.
    Brad Meyer, public works director, cautioned them if they opened it up, they needed to leave it open.
    He said they wouldn't want to decide to close it then have a storm come up and people still think it was open.
    "The worst thing to do is open it, say it didn't work and when a storm comes it's not open," Meyer said.
    Commissioner Nick Badwey said he did not have a problem with it as long as the main library and children's library were locked.
    Commissioner David Chapin also encouraged people to look for friends and family nearby them with basements.
    "Don't wait until you need it," he said.
    The city staff is going to talk with the library staff and library board about the possibility.
    Giving some background, Herb Llewellyn, city manager, said they used to have a librarian who lived near the library and she would open it up in times of storms, which is why some people remember a time when it was opened.
    To help with awareness in severe storms, the city has created a series of slides for Channel 7 with warnings and watches.
    "A lot of people go to the TV because they want to know what they should do," Meyer said. "Once sirens go off it's not the time to get out and look for a shelter to go to."
    When there is any type of tornadic opportunity where the probability is more than mild, the city opens up the Emergency Operations Command downstairs in City Hall to monitor it and at that time the doors to City Hall are opened as well.
    "We're doing a lot of things to help people be a little more prepared," Meyer said.
    He also said it was important for people to have survival kits as well in case they are trapped in their basement a day or two.
    More information will be brought back to the commission before they make a decision on the library.

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