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Tornado safety in schools

With severe weather season here, are your children safe in their schools? We know they are in at least one Tulsa school.

News on 6 reporter Jennifer Loren has details about safety in schools during tornado season.

Kris Lee with First Christian Child Development: "This is our school bell for emergencies and we ring it up and down the hallways." Daycare at First Christian Church takes a detour to the middle of their building during tornado warnings.

They wheel the babies in cribs and have plenty of toys there, ready to entertain the kindergartners. Plus, every teacher is prepared with an emergency kit. "There are emergency cards, snacks, flashlights, first aid, anything we need."

At Robertson Elementary School in Tulsa, students go through about five tornado drills a year. Tulsa Public Schools only requires 3 a year. Robertson Elementary principal John Autry: “our drills take about 4 to 6 minutes to get everyone in here all at once."

Most Tulsa Public Schools send their students to the middle of their buildings or to their basements if they have them. But Robertson has an underground safe room that can hold all of its students.

The safe room holds 400 people and you have 6 inches of concrete on all of the walls, the floor and the ceiling. Also unlike other schools, Robertson Elementary was once hit by a tornado in the 1970's. “And that's when we had the twin tornadoes come through Tulsa, took the roof off the old building, ruined the hardwood floors."

That's another reason Robertson's principal thought it was so important to include a safe room when they built the new school. “I think it's great. I think every school should have one. It's just one of those ways we can protect our kids."

The principal said their safe room only cost $50,000 to build.

A Tulsa Public Schools spokesperson said no other new schools have them. That's because, when push came to shove in their budgets, the safe room plans were eliminated.
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