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Triad 5th Grader: "You Never Know When Something Is Going To Hit Or Strike"

5:14 PM, May 22, 2013   |    comments
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Winston-Salem, NC - The horrors of the Oklahoma tornadoes have not gone unnoticed by Triad 5th grader Banaja Richardson.

"I feel pretty sad," said the 11-year-old.

But if severe weather were to strike Ibraham Elementary School in Winston-Salem, Banaja says she is as prepared as can be.

"This school just makes me feel protected," she said. "You never know when something is going to hit or strike. You just never know."

Twice a year, students across the Triad practice their emergency plans.

One of those times is usually during Severe Weather Awareness Week in March where schools across the state practice their drills.

"We take our steps going through it so children are not scared during that time but they understand that we have to practice just like a fire drill,' said Lee Koch, principal at Ibraham Elementary.

Koch says his school and others in the district make sure teachers and students are well-versed in the emergency plan.

Maps in the school's handbook clearly identify safe areas and those to avoid if there's a tornado warning.

"Right here, we would not be over there because there's a whole bunch of windows,' explained Banaja. "The gym is like the worst place to be because there are high ceiling levels that can fall straight down you."

Koch said school staff make sure to close doors and turn off the school's power supply before hunkering down in case of severe weather.

"A good wall would be over here,' Banaja pointed at one of the safer walls at Ibraham. "What we do is we get on our knees and then we crouch down and then put our hands like this and then scoot up to each other against the wall."

As a result of the tornadoes in Oklahoma, the safety director in the Forsyth County/Winston-Salem School District sent out a memo to administrators this week to review their weather plans.

Other districts like Guilford County Schools have also updated their plans in recent months and added other emergency plans like "intruder drills."

Koch says while schools can never completely protect against the threat of a tornado, emergency plans do save lives.

"If you practice, practice, practice makes perfect,' he said.

WFMY News 2

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