How Metro Schools Prepare For Tornadoes


Across the country, people are trying to take lessons from the devastation in Oklahoma.

Many are asking, "What would happen in our schools if a tornado hit?"

Minutes after Monday's monster tornado, school kids, confused and scared, emerged from a battered building. Seven others lost their lives.

Wednesday in Council Bluffs, the alarm sounds for a tornado drill.

School safety is one key issue emerging from the storm's destruction.

Kindergartner Tyler Stahl, and his classmates at Edison Elementary knew what to do.

“We had to go to the bathroom really fast, and then we had to put our heads down," he said.

For the kindergartners, the safest place to be is the bathroom.

“And all 20 of my kids, and me, we come in here, and we just sit down, we put our heads in our laps, with our hands over our necks,” said Bethany Hayes, Stahl's teacher.

The other safe part of the school is the hallways.

In case any glass could be any danger, fire doors block the way.

“We've taken the approach of using our interior hallways, the restrooms, and the kinds of places that we have available in our current buildings where again, we can be as safe as possible during an event such as a tornado," says Diane Ostrowski, of the Council Bluffs School District.

Edison is one of many schools in Council Bluffs that's been renovated.

The process considered every kind of dangerous situation, including a tornado.

Experts determined with the resources available, those spots are the safest.

With regular practice, students understand how it works.

“If we were just learning, and if it just happened, we will get hurt, and so you have to be safe," says Stahl.

Never knowing when, but always being ready.

In Iowa, each school is required to conduct at least four tornado drills during the school year.

The only state regulations in Nebraska for tornado safety in schools are that a set of plans have to be in place at a local level. In addition, an expert has to review those plans each year.


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