Pee Dee schools prepare for severe weather

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) It's Severe Weather Awareness week in South Carolina.

The devastating storms that ripped through the Midwest last week are a very real reminder of how important it is to know what to do when that weather moves into our area.

Severe weather can strike any time of day, including during school hours.

School district officials across the Pee Dee say there are plans in place for events like tornadoes and hurricanes.

WMBF News checked in with schools in the Pee Dee to see if students and teachers are prepared to take a hit from severe weather.

"We're going to go ahead and practice our tornado drill because what just happened Friday in the western states," said a 5th grade math teacher at Main Street Elementary in Florence.

The class all answered, "tornadoes".

Even young children know about the recent tornadoes that tore through the western and southern states, but Florence School District Three officials say they're prepared.

As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, schools across the state practice tornado and earthquake drills, and students in Florence County say they know just how dangerous severe weather can be.

"If we have a real earthquake something can drop and hit us on our head and we don't want that to happen," said Daneshia Smith, a 5th grader at Main Street Elementary.

Florence County school districts have partnered with the Florence County Emergency Management Department to consolidate their separate emergency protocols into one basic plan all schools share.

"It allows law enforcement and emergency management and the schools to all operate on the same plan and use the same terminology," said Jay Alexander, FSD3 Director of Operations.

All Florence County schools have an emergency kit and a weather radio for quick information on incoming severe weather.

They say the new plan will make for a quicker and more effective response.

District officials say the students are drilled on different emergency situations at least once a month.

A state-wide tornado drill will take place Tuesday as a part of severe weather awareness week.

"it will test their plans and also the emergency broadcast network to make sure everything is working properly..."

Now district officials want to make sure parents are prepared for severe weather emergencies.

"Listen out for media, or call the schools district office or school itself to get more information," said Alexander.

When severe weather hits, district officials say parents should keep calm and wait for further instructions before rushing to the school to pick up their kids.

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