School adding space for public tornado shelter

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PIEDMONT, Okla. — As families prepare for another round of tornadoes and severe weather this year, Piedmont Public Schools is reminding people that it will open the school for those seeking shelter.

Last year, close to 200 people rode out the May 24 tornado at one of the schools.

“We feel that in a lot of situations it is safer for those people to be here at our schools than in some of their homes,” Piedmont Superintendent James White said.

The school district is currently building a new school which will feature four additional safe rooms.ย 

Each of the rooms is about the size of a classroom.ย 

It’s important for Oklahomans to know that not every school district has the same policy.

“Our policy for many years has been that we do not open up the schools as a public shelter and that’s for many reasons.ย  Number one, we just don’t have the space. Secondly we don’t have the staff,” Susan Parks-Schlepp said, Edmond Public Schools.

Last May, the district did open the schools for those in need of a place to go and close to 8,000 people showed up.

School officials say they cannot safely accommodate a large number of people.

Officials also believe it just isn’t safe for people to be out on the road looking for shelter.

Oklahoma City, Putnam City and Mid-Del Schools also have similar policies.

All three school districts do not open buildings during storms.

Piedmont Public Schools says there are very few people in its district who need shelter, which allows them to provide it.

Safety officials advise everyone to have an emergency plan in place.

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