MOORE, Okla. – With each tornado season, we learn something new about how to keep our families safe.
Recently, we saw an invention that’s practical and will have you thinking, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’
Incredibly, it was created by a 9 and 10-year-old.
The two quiet girls sitting in a room full of rowdy fourth graders have been friends for almost two years.
Kylie Thompson and Jadyn Waddle’s two year friendship has had its ups and downs.
“Our family’s never been through a tornado, so that was our first tornado, our very first one,” says Thompson.
One year ago, Jadyn and Kylie were sitting at their desks in their Moore elementary school when they experienced the unimaginable.
“I was really scared because my friends were in there and me and my friend were crying so hard,” says Waddle. “And we were like, ‘Our friends are still at school!”
“And then when I heard about the teacher who got a desk leg stuck in her leg,” says Thompson. “That made me really sad.”
“My friend, she made it out with only a few little bumps and bruises,” says Waddle. “But her brother, he was pinned under a wall and he couldn’t get out.”
That heartbreak quickly turned into inspiration when their fourth grade teacher asked them to partner up and create something for an inventor’s competition.
“At first we were like, ‘I have no idea what we’re going to do,” says Waddle.
Then, from the basic scientific method, ‘The Safety V’ was born.
“The padding inside of it will not irritate your skin,” says Thompson.
“And it has reflective stripping on the front,” says Waddle.
It has about everything you will need if a twister tears through your town.
The two fourth graders made sure you will be hard to miss.
“If they see the neon sticking out they would say, ‘I don’t think that’s just rubble I think somebody’s in there,” says Waddle.
“We need a whistle or something like that,” says Thompson.
Inside the vest are waterproof pockets for your identification, cellphone, any other important paperwork, a first-aid kit and goggles.
They interviewed firefighters, police officers, and military personnel to get input on what would really work on the vest.
“We showed it to some of the fireman and they were like, ‘Oh yeah we could have really used that,” says Waddle.
To the girls, winning the states inventor’s exposition was out of the question.
“Yeah kind of like a needle in a haystack, one in a million,” says Waddle. “Before she could finish we jumped up and hugged each other and ran on stage!”
One day their ‘Safety V’ prototype will be patent pending, but right now the girls would not mind if you took their idea and ran with it.
Kylie’s mom Amy Thompson says, “It is a very practical solution to a problem that we face here in Oklahoma. To see if from a kid, a fourth grade kid, that amazes me.”
In addition to their big shiny trophy, the girls won $150 in prize money.
Kylie plans on using her half of the money to add long sleeves to the vest and work on making it fire-retardant.
Jadyn says she plans on giving her half away to Children’s Hospital.