Kanawha County students practice for emergencies, including tornadoes

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Images of the schools leveled by the tornadoes in Oklahoma serve as a haunting reminder that disaster does not discriminate.

School officials in Kanawha County said they have a plan in place in case a natural disaster, like a tornado, would ever strike while students are in class.

"Always listen to your teachers in case of emergencies and don't scream or panic because it is hard to hear," said Shoals Elementary student Gabriel Sankoff.

Sankoff said if there were to be a tornado, he knows what to do. "You get under something that is very sturdy and then you put your arms over your head so it doesn't fall on you," Sankoff explained.

Shoals Elementary Principal David Anderson said students participate in drills coordinated both on the school level and the county level. Anderson said they practice for a variety of situations including everything from chemical leaks, to earthquakes and severe weather.

Students said it makes them feel more comfortable to practice the drills ahead of time. They said it also helps them to trust their teachers to keep them safe.

"They have that sense of not being left out in the cold and knowing what is going on and being prepared for the worst," Anderson said. "We try to make it pleasant but reality is reality."

Watching that reality play out in Oklahoma has reminding both students and staff at Shoals Elementary how important it is to be prepared.

"It makes you appreciate your own school and your children and want to take safety as a top priority in everything we do," Anderson said.

Anderson said the school has a safety committee that meets once a month to discuss how to handle all types of emergencies that might happen at the school.

To learn more about how you can stay as safe as possible if you are caught in a tornado, follow the link provided.


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