342 A Tale of Two Schools: A Case Study of Two Oklahoma School Districts during Tornado Events

Monday, 7 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Virginia G. Silvis, Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and M. A. Shafer

Handout (1021.7 kB)

Every year, tornadoes threaten the citizens and communities of central Oklahoma, the heart of Tornado Alley. In the past few years officials at both the Edmond and Norman Public Schools, located just to the north and south respectively of Oklahoma City, have had first-hand experience in dealing with a tornado threatening schools in their district. On 10 February 2009 an EF-2 tornado tracked through the northwest parts of Edmond, OK and on 13 April 2012 an EF-1 tornado tracked through the heart of Norman, OK. Both of these tornadoes occurred near dismissal time for schools in both districts. Consequently, administrators, principals, and teachers at these schools had the added challenge of trying to move their charges safely to pre-designated shelters in the their buildings during the hectic dismissal period. This case study was designed to attempt to identify the policies and procedures that both school districts activated during the tornado threat that allowed them protect their students. It also looked at how people acted and behaved before the tornado warnings were issued to determine the level of knowledge and hazard awareness present. By studying these two school districts, both of which face an elevated tornado threat due to their location, it is hoped that a dialogue will be opened, allowing Edmond and Norman to share their lessons, successes and areas they are working to improve upon with other schools across the country.
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