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Statewide Tornado Drill: How Do Students Handle the Once-A-Year Drill?

Updated: 04/24/2014 7:15 PM
Created: 04/24/2014 5:55 PM KSTP.com
By: Brandi Powell

We only saw clouds and rain Thursday, but are you ready for something more severe?

There were drills statewide to find out, and students used the opportunity to practice at school, just in case.

When students at Blaine High School heard the assistant principal in charge of safety say over the loudspeaker, "We are in a tornado watch. This is only a drill," some of them did, well, the wrong thing: "Some people thought, 'Oh, tornado watch,' and some people started to leave. So that was a debriefing that we had, that we're going to have to make that clearer, that that's not what you do, said John Phelps, Principal at Blaine High School."

Here's the plan:

The National Weather Service notifies schools there's a watch. Then, there's a warning.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS witnessed some students getting riled up by it.

"I feel that they shouldn't let us know it's a drill, for us to take it serious," said Luk Manaddow, an 11th grader at Blaine High School.

Staff is serious about where students should and shouldn't go.

"We want them where there's not a large span of roofing, because tornados with the difference in pressure could obviously blow up that area, we don't want that," Phelps said. "That's why you don't go into an auditorium; you don't use the field house. Bathrooms are great places."

Phelps said evacuation sites are places that are narrow, such as hallways, and places that have two permanent, firm walls. Once students get there, they are taught to hunker down. This is one of the evacuation sites, that's because it's narrow and has two permanent, firm walls. Once students get there, they're taught to hunker down.

"They just tell you to kind of cover your head up and duck down so your head doesn't get hit hard or anything," said Luke Notermann, a 10th grader at Blaine High school.

Even though it was just practice, it was still worth it.

"Yeah, right now, I feel prepared," Notterman said.

"I feel they're very useful, yes," said Carston Erickson, 11th grader at Blaine High School.

It's a drill the principal hopes taught these students a life-saving lesson.

The assistant principal in charge of safety says it took all 2,900 students at Blaine high school five minutes and 20 seconds to get to their assigned safe spot.

That's longer than the average five minutes.

She also says there's only once tornado drill each year.

That's compared to five fire drills, and five lock down drills.


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