Should Your School Have a Safe Room?
Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and other severe weather strikes can happen in the blink of an eye. Many families either have a plan or storm shelters or often times both, but what about your child’s school? When severe weather strikes does your school have a safe room for your children? And do they need one? The short and obvious answer is yes, a school should have a safe room. While the answer is obvious there are some challenges to overcome.
One of the challenges that schools face in providing storm shelters for students is that older schools often times were not built with severe weather in mind. In some areas, tornado shelters are available due in part to the frequency with which they touch down, but not every school is in a hot zone, so to speak. Because there is no perceived immediate need, funding can be tough to secure and infrastructure projects can often cause dips in school districts general funds that are used for a multitude of other projects. All is not lost, there is hope.
For instance, in Wichita Public School District was able to secure FEMA funding to help create a safe room that adhered to FEMA’s Standard 361. This funding helped the district in building 60 additional safe rooms through their school system. While this can be a lengthy process to secure funding it is one of the most worthwhile for your district to explore.
While not every district in the country will be able to secure FEMA funding there are other things parents can do to ensure their child school has storm shelters that can withstand what Mother Nature might dish out. Parents can attend school board meetings in order to have their voices heard and help guide district spending. While a safe room project can be costly it provides an additional benefit, especially in areas where severe weather is especially prevalent.
One of the key benefits of storm shelters or safe rooms is the sense of security they provide the children. It would be disingenuous to say that a child would not fear a tornado or earthquake as they happened just because a school had a tornado shelter or safe room. However, safe rooms offer a sense of security and peace of mind that all will be will, because the safe room they are in is designed to handle severe weather.
Storm shelters are important for schools, but they are not the easiest thing to get funding for. But there is hope. Reaching out and exploring all of the avenues laid out can help your district secure storm shelter funding. There are also private companies who offer a variety of different storm shelters and safe rooms that can withstand those severe weather conditions.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at Carport.