Local students learn how to respond to tornado threat

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – At 8:50 a.m. Tuesday  morning,  everyone inside of River Oaks Elementary heard the announcement.

"This is a tornado drill. Please take appropriate action at this time."

In a matter of seconds, students started trickling into the hallways. Principal June Moorhead says they teach River Oaks kids to walk out of the classroom, and "to stay away from windows, to stay away from doors that can blow open and hit them." Students line up and kneel down to help protect their bodies from flying objects, "on their knees, on the floor, with their head covered," says Moorhead.

After a few minutes of silence, the tornado drill is over and students return to the classroom.

Tuesday's drill went off without a hitch, but Principal Moorhead points out it's what happens before and after the practice run that makes the biggest impact, especially on younger kids.

"It can be a scary situation, all drills can be," Moorhead says.

Second grade teacher Courtney Everett agrees, "The younger they are, more they worry."

Ms. Everett reviews the do's and don'ts with her class, like staying away from windows and keeping quiet so they can hear instructions from the adults. Ms. Everett also covers the importance of having these drills.

"We're practicing to be safe," Everett tells her students.

Principal Moorhead says these safety lessons can be carried into the home.

"It is absolutely a teachable moment to talk about what they would do if there were a tornado and they were at home," explains Moorhead.

"Try to find a room that doesn't have that many windows, furniture or doors. Try to practice ducking, covering," adds Everett.

The teachers and staff of River Oaks will review Tuesday's tornado drill , and then they will move on to plan for the next one. Moorhead says Tuesday's drill was the third tornado drill held this school year.

"If the time ever come that we need it, we're prepared," she adds.

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