Students across the state practice severe weather safety

Local News

PUTNAM COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — During severe weather, it’s important for school systems to know what to do to keep everyone safe — so several schools participated in a statewide tornado drill Monday.

Students at West Teays Elementary School are learning how to put safety first.

“It was pretty easy to put your hands over your head so just in case the ceiling caves in so your head doesn’t get hurt, so you can protect it,” Ella Dye, a fourth-grade student, said.

Gov. Jim Justice declared this week flood safety and severe weather awareness week in West Virginia and encouraged all schools to participate in the tornado drill.

“We made sure to space them apart for COVID measures and then they kind of crouch down and put their hands over their head just to be as safe as possible,” Megan Barber, a fourth-grade teacher, said.

The safest place for students is in interior hallways or classrooms without windows.

“The National Weather Service recommended that we not use gyms or cafeterias as our areas to relocate since they have the highest ceilings and those are usually impacted first in a tornado,” Lisa Ashworth, the principal for West Teays Elementary School, said.

Faculty and staff say practicing is a way to make a situation less scary, just in case the wind decides to pick up.

 “I find that if we can be as prepared as possible it’s going to make them feel much more secure if we did have a situation at school where we did have severe weather, which we have had in the past,” Barber said.

“You never want the students to panic when that situation might arise. So, we do different drills all year long weather it be an intruder in the building, a shelter in place, a natural disaster or just a fire drill,” Ashworth said.

Principal Ashworth says they practice one of those drills each month.  

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