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DMPS Encourages Schools to Participate in State Wide Tornado Drill

DES MOINES, Iowa – A state wide tornado drill will take place Wednesday during Severe Weather Week.

The siren is set to go off at 10:00 a.m. and the district at Des Moines Public Schools encourages each building to participate.

Schools across the state are required to have four tornado drills during each school year.

DMPS Safety Compliance Specialist Pamela Rosa said every school has its own personalized plan but gives every school general guidelines.

“We want as interior as we can get. You want fewer windows if that is possible. We don’t want gymnasiums or auditoriums that have really tall roof lines, unless of course they have designed to withstand a storm,” Rosa said.

Rosa said gymnasiums and auditoriums are to be avoided, because it is more likely to collapse unless it is designed to withstand high winds.

Rosa said maps are posted throughout every school for students to see where the designated tornado rooms are.

“We try to stay away from hallways. When we were young it was hallways, but the problem with hallways is if there are doors at either end those can be breached during a tornado and create a more dangerous environment. So, we try to find interior rooms, and for the younger students it is good if you have a bathroom available,” Rosa said.

Johnston Schools said it uses a similar method with designating the wrestling room and bathrooms as safe rooms during a tornado drill. The new high school does not have a storm shelter.