One example of this is during a recent emergency plan review with a district, the staff selected an interior room of a building as their storm shelter that they believed to be safe. Our review discovered that the selected safe room was, in fact, inside a metal building (similar to a barn structure) that had been covered with brick so it looked like a typical building from the outside. The building had several additions over the years, and there were MANY locations that were significantly safer than the location they selected.
We encourage everyone to contact a licensed architect, engineer or the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management to help you devise the safest storm emergency plan possible. A review from a qualified team is simple but will provide the safest possible refuge solution for each school in your district. The brief list below describes what to expect during the assessment process:
- Meeting with school stakeholders to discuss safety concerns and plans
- Review the schools existing emergency plan
- Walk through of the school and campus with a checklist guide to determine the conditions
- Tornado assessment showing potential risks and improvement recommendations.
Having a professional recommendation is essential in protecting the lives of your staff and children. Don’t let another sever weather season pass without having a plan!
Kahle A Wilson, NCARB, AIADesign Architects Plus, Inc.