Why Teachers in OKC Need to Know Tornado Safety Basics
Category : Oklahoma Storm Shelters
Unfortunately, past incidents, including the tragic tornado in Moore, in 2013, reminds us that schools are some of the most vulnerable places when it comes to tornadoes. Not only are they poorly equipped to handle the situation, often, teachers and administrators are also underprepared and unaware, making it even harder to protect children.
As teachers and administrators, there are several things you should know about tornado safety and how you can best educate and protect the young minds in your classrooms. Some of the most basic facts and safety measures include:
Teach your students about what tornadoes are
Before you rush into intimidating safety measures and protocols, you should work on educating your students about what exactly tornadoes are, how they form, and why they’re dangerous. There are dozens of great resources from reliable sources, including multimedia presentations, videos, activities, and plenty more that you can use in your classroom. Emphasize the danger that comes with them to help students understand that they are not something they should run toward, be it in school or otherwise.
Know how to identify and access shelters with students
When you’re managing a classroom full of students during an emergency, there’s very little time to think and plan. Your best bet is to identify key shelters across campus, be it underground bunkers in the schoolyard or a basement shelter. Ideally, there should be enough shelters for everyone from students to administration, and this might require multiple shelters across the vicinity, which is why designating them based on factors like distance could help.
Learn how to understand and interpret weather data
While most storm warnings are made simple, it’s important that you learn what different indicators mean. This can help prevent confusion and keep you informed on the latest updates, progress, and development of tornadoes near you. You can tune in to the NOAA Weather Radio for all relevant information at the time of a tornado watch.
Continue practicing drills and revising safety measures
Learn about your state and school’s emergency plans, evacuation and lockdown methods, and other measures to ensure maximum efficiency. This will help you stay alert and prepared, as opposed to following your instinct or guessing. There are extensive plans based on stats that cover drills, training, evacuation, and use and access to emergency plans. Learn about some of Oklahoma’s plans here.
It can be a lot to take in, but as educators and the closest adults available in times of emergency. Your preparedness can make all the difference in the world.