Safety protocols for East Webster High School storm shelter

MABEN, Miss. (WBCI) – East Webster High School says they plan on letting students out of class early Tuesday due to the expected severe weather.

Principal Corey Stidham says they are continuing to monitor the weather situation and have several plans in place to make sure their students stay safe.

As schools around Mississippi prepare for the threat of severe weather, East Webster High School is fortunate enough to have a gym that function’s as a state-of-the-art storm shelter.

“We feel very safe when the weather comes and the community is a little uptight from previous occurrences,” Stidham says.

The gym was completed in 2013, two years after an EF-3 tornado ripped through the area.

The structure was built to withstand an EF-5 tornado and house the entire student body as well as members of the surrounding community.

“We feel like it’s about as safe as you can have,” Stidham says.

Stidham says that the decision to have students shelter in place at school or at home ultimately comes down from the school district based on the safety of the roads.

“If we have a warning or something comes through, we will go to our protocol, come to the gym and hang out here until the weather has passed,” the school principal says.

Stidham says each teacher has an evacuation plan.

“The first thing I do is, we grab our class roster, make sure I have all my kids accounted for and I grab my emergency procedure crisis plan,” says seventh-grade teacher Mallory Roberts.

Roberts says she then walks her students quickly and calmly to the gym.

“We have designated seating and so all the seats are filled up,” she says. “And then we just take our roster and check roll and make sure everyone is accounted for.”

Roberts also has a list she goes over with her students if they end up riding out the storm at home.

“Is anybody going to be at home with you,” she asks. “Make sure your siblings are in a safe place. If they’re home by themselves, with parents that work, y’all know to go to the bathroom, the middle structure (during the storm).”

Once they are under that severe weather warning, Stidham says they will open the front doors of the gym so that people from the surrounding area can take shelter.

“We use it very often when there’s the possibility of bad weather,” he says.

Click here to find the storm shelter closest to your area. 

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