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View Diary: A simple question about Moore, Oklahoma (72 comments)

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  •  I can't imagine the cost of building a safe (1+ / 0-)
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    underground shelter, through clay, bedrock, and high water tables, that I would pass as proper to send children to. Providing for adequate ventilation for several hundred people in a hole in the ground? Keeping water out while rescue workers try to pull debris off? Tough order.

    I live up the road in Tulsa. It took them two days to dig my septic tank with a back hoe. Bedrock is just about one foot under the surface. Clay, that expands and contracts with moisture, is much everywhere else. There are parts of town where this is not the case (closer to the river).

    I dunno. Maybe some construction folks can weigh in on this. But the reality doesn't fit well with the ideal here.

    "You can never sink so low in life that you can't be a bad example for somebody." - my dad

    by briefer on Tue May 21, 2013 at 12:14:11 PM PDT

    •  Do you remember back to 1974? (2+ / 0-)
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      Kevskos, splashy

      I spent two weeks in Oklahoma City in 1974. The big new thing then was the proposal to build a dome over downtown OKC. The state was flush with oil money and they were thinking big at that time.

      Anything was possible, seemingly.

      I don't necessarily think that a tornado shelter has to built completely underground to be secure. But I would point out that oil wells are drilled to tens of thousands of feet through all that clay and bedrock and somehow people can make money from that. Of course they do that to make money, not to protect children.

      If I understand your argument correctly, you are saying that a society that can construct a vehicle that can take men to the moon and return them safely, that can construct a vehicle that can carry a man 7 miles under the ocean safely, that can build a vehicle that can carry people at three times the speed of sound without killing them, is unable to construct a shelter that is capable of protecting 100 children during a tornado?

      But I guess there are other things a lot more important than the safety of our children....

      There are only two types of Republicans: 1) racists; and 2) people who are willing to be associated with racists.

      by hillbrook green on Tue May 21, 2013 at 12:30:38 PM PDT

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      •  Why of course. That's exactly what I'm saying. (1+ / 0-)
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        If money was no object (like the moon shot). But you will note that my comment starts with the premise of "cost."

        My sister lives (lived) about a block from one of the schools that was leveled. I am aware of the need. I am also aware of my state's financial situation, and its concept of funding schools.

        We have trouble buying caulking for school windows right now. There are close to 2000 public schools in Oklahoma. 600,000 students. Again, I can't imagine the funding to retrofit all those schools with safe and adequate storm shelters.

        "You can never sink so low in life that you can't be a bad example for somebody." - my dad

        by briefer on Tue May 21, 2013 at 12:49:53 PM PDT

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        •  Can you imagine (1+ / 0-)
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          the worth of a single child's life? And multiply that by the number of children killed in that school collapse?

          But you are right, I suppose.

          Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that you could build a shelter that would protect 300 children for a million dollars - a million dollars would dig a lot of septic tanks, wouldn't it? Not a fallout shelter, not something designed to house people for days or weeks at a time, just something where children could go for an hour or so to wait out a tornado.

          Don't like the $1 million dollar price tag? Double the figure. Hell, I don't care, triple it.

          $3,000,0000 apiece.

          So that would mean 300 schools times $3,000,000.... that comes to $900,000,000. Let's round it up to $1 billion.

          Your state generated $14 billion dollars worth of oil and gas in just the year of 2006.

          So, if you put a 7% tax on the oil and gas extracted in your state for JUST ONE YEAR, you could build tornado shelters for every single school in your state.

          My effective tax rate is over 15% - every year. What is yours?

          Worried about the effect on business in your state for that year?

          How about the effect of pumping $1 billion dollars into the construction industry to build those shelters? How about the effect on retail stores when workers building those shelters had to pay for food and shelter?

          Cost, shmost. The plain truth is the loss of a child's life (or ten) is not nearly as important as allowing oil companies and other businesses to make obscene profits and not pay fair taxes.

          There are only two types of Republicans: 1) racists; and 2) people who are willing to be associated with racists.

          by hillbrook green on Tue May 21, 2013 at 01:15:32 PM PDT

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          •  You might check your math. There are about (1+ / 0-)
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            2000 schools. Not 300, as you say.

            My high school, which still serves Tulsa, was built in 1939 and serves well over 1000 students, plus about 100 faculty and staff. There are about seven other similar highschools in Tulsa that would need retrofitted with these new underground shelters. I dunno. Good luck with that.

            "You can never sink so low in life that you can't be a bad example for somebody." - my dad

            by briefer on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:10:53 PM PDT

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        •  That's because the wealthy don't want to part (0+ / 0-)

          With any of their vast wealth, especially for the working people's children.

          It's a tragedy that the wealthy in Oklahoma are so self-centered and greedy.

          Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

          by splashy on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:04:37 PM PDT

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      •  Unwilling, not unable. n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  Relatively simple if you don't care if it's pretty (0+ / 0-)

      ...And have the space to put it.  

      If you can't build it below ground level, then there's no reason to worry about water unless you're in a flood zone or a low-lying local area, I would think.  Even if there winds up being water a foot deep in the thing, it just means people will be wet and miserable while they wait out the tornado.  While that sucks, it's better than the alternative.

      With an above-ground shelter, ventilation isn't difficult at all; just have some vents low to the ground and some vents high up, and air flow and temperature differentials will keep the air circulating.  (You want some vents anyway in order to alleviate the pressure differentials -- that's part of what causes structures to come apart in a tornado; the external pressure can drop so quickly and significantly that it literally blows the windows/roof/walls off if the building can't vent.)  Stuffing a bunch of warm breathing bodies in there would increase the rate of circulation, as would high winds in the area.  It might be uncomfortable, but not dangerous, so long as sufficient vents are installed.  

      Emergency lighting is as simple as a charger, 1W LEDs, and sufficient deep-cycle marine batteries to keep 'em running for, say, 24 hours without power.  Building a low, sturdy box with a couple of exits is easy, and that's basically all you need.  Cover the whole thing in several feet of dirt mounded into a low hill and put it somewhere where big buildings or big trees aren't likely to collapse on it.  (Don't forget to plant some grasses or local wildflowers on the mound to prevent erosion.)  Covering 'em with mounded dirt both serves to provide extra protection against flying/falling debris and prevents the wind from getting under the structure and flipping/picking it up.  You don't need very much dirt -- or any really -- on the roof, so long as the walls are well-bunkered to the top with a sloping mound of earth.

      If you want mostly-pre-fab that can hold a lot of people you can go with reinforced cargo containers or those big concrete pipe sections.  Hell, you could even use retired buses in a pinch.  I mean, come on, it's not like people haven't been building storm cellars and bunkers for hundreds of years.  If you want 'em to be pretty and high-tech and comfortable, yeah, they can cost a pretty penny.  If you just want them to be brutish boxes that keep you from being killed by tornados, it seems to me that they can be done very cheaply, particularly if you have extra space to build one close to the place you need to evacuate.  If you don't have sufficient space and need to put it under a pre-existing building, then, yeah, that'll increase costs by orders of magnitude -- but it seems to me that most schools in the plains states tend to have plenty of surplus real estate.

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