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August 5, 1999

Tornado Safe Rooms Take Center Stage at Western States PUBLIC SAFETY AWARENESS DAY

(Denver) -- Sweltering heat and humidity didn't stifle enthusiasm as the construction of tornado safe room highlighted the celebration of Public Safety Day Awareness Day July 28 at the Siouxland American Red Cross in Sioux City Iowa. Fire fighters, police, medical technicians and emergency managers from Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska participated in the daylong event.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Region VIII Director, Rick Weiland, and John Miller, FEMA Region VII Director joined Nebraska Lt. Governor, Dave Maurstad, Deputy Director of the North Central Region of the American Red Cross Jane Weathers, mayors from Sioux City, North Sioux City and South Sioux City, and other local and state dignitaries for the event.

"We have learned so much about disaster preparedness and tornado-safety over the years, and we have proven strategies to help people protect themselves," said Rick Weiland, Regional Director for FEMA Region VIII. "We know that tornado safe rooms work. There are people alive today in Oklahoma City because they had a safe shelter when the twisters hit earlier this year. I applaud Sioux City metro officials and emergency managers for working so hard to get the word out that we are not helpless in the face of natural disasters; people can take actions to protect themselves and their families. Safe rooms are an excellent example of that."

In addition to the construction of tornado safe room, the day's events included demonstration projects on public safety including fire, police and emergency medical, National Weather Service presentations and activities for families and children. The new Siouxland Chapter of the American Red Cross facility was also dedicated in a ribbon cutting ceremony.

A total of about $50,000 from FEMA and PATH has been made available to Sioux City, Iowa, South Sioux City, Nebraska, and North Sioux City, South Dakota, to construct safe rooms and to develop a public information campaign to make residents aware of the warning and sheltering options available in the event of a tornado or other severe weather.

The Siouxland metropolitan area in South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa is in an area considered at high risk for extreme winds based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration storm prediction center statistics.

Content updated on 7/10/2003

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