Performance impressive on first tornado drill in new shelters


Keyanna Patterson, Reporter

Staff and students completed the first tornado drill, using the two new tornado shelters on March 9.

“Our total time to get into the tornado shelters was right around nine minutes flat,” assistant principal Jacob Henning said.

The district hopes for the entire school to be in the two separate shelters in under five minutes. With 1,410 students participating in the drill this was a daunting task. Still, the school only fell a few minutes short of the goal.

“The district would like us to be within five minutes, but they understand that with a school this size that is probably not a reality,” Henning said. “We had district personnel that were viewing and they were very impressed with how well we did,. They were very impressed with our time, especially for being our first drill.”

The two new shelters are found around the new gym area, and in the new orchestra room.

“These areas can withstand an F5 tornado,” Henning said. “These two locations are probably some of the safest places in Wichita. They are very secure and safe.”

Although the drill went smoothly, new routes to improve how fast we can get the entire school safe will always be under debate.

Henning says that if everyone stayed to the correct side when traveling in G Hall the drill could run smoother.

When the first fire drill was timed, the entire school used G Hall to travel to the shelters. In the future the back hall will be opened and could also be used to take students and staff to the shelters.

“We tried to put barriers in to separate people, but we had some crossover which caused a backup in areas,” Henning said. “Right now we have no other way of getting to our two shelters, but in the future the back hall that leads to the new gym will be open so we can probably have a couple hallways go back through that way.”

With more practice and future drills, the time has room for improvement. The school was made safer by having two new shelters routes to get each person safely to said areas.

“Overall we were all very pleased with the students,” Henning said. “They cooperated and we tried to make it as quick as possible. I’m thankful for all the teachers and the staff for their cooperation and still we want to get better, quicker and more organized.”