Delicate tornado drill

You may have heard an alert through your weather radio. Kentucky conducted a state-wide tornado drill at 9:07 Tuesday morning -it was rescheduled from last week because of the snow storm.

For some– this is an easy drill. But for others, getting to a safe place requires a more delicate touch.

Children, many of whom have special needs get practice in getting to a safe place. Stacey Swift, Vice President of Easter Seals says teachers have to be very careful when walking children through what can be scary for any age level. One of the tactics they use is the ‘show me’ technique. The younger children get invested in showing their teachers how they cover their heads.

Swift says they have to be even cautious not to scare the kids who may be more sensitive to the sirens. She says they sometimes even censor their language, “Sometimes we won’t tell the kids- we’ll just say you guys are needed in the motor room.”

Because it can be hard for adults to manage their stress, “It’s hard, your emotions, your adrenaline gets going, but in the back of my mind I know I’ve got to protect these kids.”

In addition to the tornado drill today- the state requires Easter Seals and other day cares to regularly practice safety drills. This includes not only tornado, but also earthquake and fire drills.

Easter Seals also keeps the TVs and weather radios on the other side of the building so the only indication kids have to severe weather is from those teachers they see everyday telling them to go to another room.

If you do have little ones, you might want to put them in charge of a specific task- like grabbing the batteries for the flashlight- to help them feel more in control.

The purpose of the drill is more than knowing where the safe place is. It gives you and your family an opportunity to make sure your safe place is clear and you’ve got an emergency kit in place.

Rick Shanklin with the National Weather Service says get your checklist ready, “That’s something you need to think about what do I need for a few days: food water, extra medication, extra batteries, flashlights those kinds of things are all very important.”

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