Safety in Bay District Schools

By: Candace White
By: Candace White

Alabama emergency officials sounded warning sirens nearly three hours before the tornado hit enterprise high school.

Some people are questioning why schools weren't dismissed earlier.

However, school officials say they had no chance to evacuate earlier, because of the approaching severe weather.

Planning for severe weather is a must when you're dealing with the countless lives of students.

Bay District Schools Safety Manager Mike Jones says every school is required to do at least 10-safety drills a year.

Every room in every school building has the means to monitor weather updates on weather alert radios.

“When that Plectron goes off, you better be listening to it because that's the Emergency Services telling us something's wrong," Jones explains.

Bay HS Principal Larry Bolinger says, "We also have email and we have a safety officer who is in constant contact with all of the agencies. So we're gonna’ have the most updated information."

But schools understand parents will always be concerned about potential weather dangers.

"If a parent calls us and says ‘I wanna take my child home with me’, it's not a problem,” Jones says. “Come and get your child and take that child home."

While some parents will chose that option, Jones points out the school buildings are generally the safest place for students to be.

Even portable classrooms are built to withstand 120-130-mile an hour winds; and driving may be your biggest mistake.

"Did you see how many cars were turned upside down on top of other cars with windows just completely smashed out of them? There's no way you're gonna’ survive a tornado in an automobile," Jones says.

Jones says they don't encourage parents to call schools during an emergency, but those calls will be answered.

Officials say your child's safety is a top priority.

Local officials say if they decide to dismiss students in the case of a tornado threat, it would happen early on during a tornado watch.

Once a tornado warning goes into effect, schools go into a lock-down mode.

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