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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Schools prepared for emergency weather

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Today is the 26th annual exercise of the Statewide Tornado Exercise and despite being in the middle of tornado alley, area schools are saying they are prepared for an actual emergency.

Assistant Principal at North Clay Middle School Jeffrey Allen said his school will be participating in the exercise.

"Procedures are reviewed with students prior to the drills. Drills are periodically practiced throughout the year to help ensure that students are prepared should an actual emergency occur," Allen said.

"Students do a great job when drills are performed. The safety of everyone in the building is our first concern and we emphasize the importance of establishing effective routines for that purpose," he said.

Lisa Showalter, Principal at Cumberland Academy, said her school is prepared as well.

"Although you never know the exact conditions and what you might be faced with, I feel confident that our staff could respond and that as a whole we would be safe," she said.

At Cumberland, tornado drills are required twice a semester and fire drills occur monthly. In the event of a fire, "It takes us less than 30 seconds to evacuate the building with 40 students and 6 staff members."

If a tornado happened, the safe areas, "are the restrooms which have no outside windows. They are large enough to accomodate everyone," Showalter said.

Van Buren Principal Gail Williams said, "I pray that we won't need to use the emergency plans, but we are prepared if something should happen."

Williams said this year safe locations for tornados were changed to better protect students. Staff discuss weather conditions with students throughout the year and many classrooms have had meterologist Jessie Walker speak to them on weather related topics, she said.

"The students perform very well and do take all of the drills we have seriously," she said.

During fire drills, students are able to evacuate the building in less than 50 seconds, she said.

"I feel that Van Buren is very much able to handle an emergency that may arise. The procedures we have in place are posted in every room of the building and we also have an emergency plan in place that we review each school year," Williams said.

Jefferson Township Elementary School Principal Jeff Fritz said his students are also safe and ready for any emergency with two tornado drills conducted in teh fall and two in the spring.

"Our students handle the drills very well. They are quiet and move steadily to their proper locations. Stuents move to their assigned locations during the drills usually in a minute or less," he said.

Like the other schools, emergency information is posted throughout the building and reviewed each year by staff. "A crisis in-service is conducted with the staff each yeah in October," Fritz said.

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