Severe Storm Safety Rules, Part 1

I believe there is a chance that the 2011 tornado season may begin next week. So, it is time to review some tornado safety rules. But, I’m not going to focus on “go to the basement or lowest floor and put as many walls as possible between you and the tornado.” Just about everyone knows those.

Ohio High School. Associated Press.

The first I’d like to bring up is what to do with regard to your children if a tornado warning is issued when they are in school.

Some school districts are starting to dismiss school when tornado watches are issued or, in at least a few cases, when warnings are issued. Without debating the merits of these policies, I have learned that most parents are not aware of these policies. So, when the sirens go off, near panic ensues.

I am aware of situations where it was reported parents clogged streets in front of schools and blocked the egress during tornado warnings. I fear that if a tornado were to occur, the death toll would be high, especially if children were trying to get to cars.

My advice: Leave children in school regardless of whether a tornado watch or warning is in effect and dismiss at the normal time. If a warning is in effect for the school at dismissal time, hold the children until the warning is over.

If a school district decides to dismiss school for a watch or warning the policy should be widely publicized. Do not wait until the sirens are going off to try to figure this out.

School districts should widely publicize their policies with regard to tornado watches and warnings.

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