Columbia Public Schools prepared in case of a weather emergency
Updated On: May 21 2013 10:48:36 PM CDT
After a tornado in Moore, Okla. destroyed two elementary schools, Columbia Public Schools released details about its severe-weather plans.
“We do live in a tornado area of the country, so that’s certainly something we are always concerned with,” said Michelle Baumstark with Columbia Public Schools.
The school district said schools conduct emergency drills once a month to prepare students and staff for severe weather or an emergency.
“We do our best to make sure we keep children safe, that’s our number one priority,” said Paxton Keeley Elementary Principal, Elaine Hassemer.
In Columbia there are 34 schools, all with different emergency plans and safe places. Each school building has designated safe places for weather emergencies.
After the Joplin tornado two years ago, Mid-Missouri schools re-evaluated the safest place for students to go. In the past, places such as hallways were designated safe areas, but that has changed.
Currently in most schools, students and faculty will use interior hallways and lower level areas during a tornado.
According to the district, every school in Columbia has enough space for all students and staff to stay during severe weather. That includes all students and teachers in mobile classrooms.
ABC 17 News toured Paxton Keeley Elementary Tuesday in Columbia. While schools like it are as prepared for sever-weather as they can be, no schools in Columbia or Jefferson City have storm shelters.
CPS tried to use federal money through a FEMA grant to make the gyms at Hickman and Rock Bridge tornado-proof, but that didn't get approved. The district said it is a competitive program, and building storm shelters is more money than it has. “It does not come without cost and we certainly don’t have it in our budget at this point in time,” said Baumstark.
Columbia Public Schools said the district monitors weather forecasts closely during severe weather and works with local agencies in case of emergencies or evacuations. If any parents have questions about the district's emergency plans, they are asked to contact their child's principal or the district by calling (573) 214-3400.
Copyright © 2013 KMIZ - The Networks of Mid-Missouri. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Man arrested for DWI after serious crash on Hwy. 54
ISIS video purports to show beheading of 2nd US journalist
Flooding causes road closures in Boone County
iCloud accounts hacked and personal information leaked
Emergency crews respond to water rescues
CEO pleads guilty in failed sweetener plant case
Lightning sparks fire in apartment building
Manhunt Monday: Mid-Missouri's most wanted September 1