Commonwealth Journal

Local News

May 21, 2013

Local schools prepared for the worst when storms strike


Somerset —

Rick Walker, superintendent of Science Hill School — located in the northern part of Pulaski, where tornadoes seem traditionally more common — said that his administrators, teachers, and kids know what to do in “every situation” that might arise.
“We’re always as prepared as we can be,” he said. “... I’m very confident we are prepared to do what we have to do. We’re on high alert whenever there are threats, including weather.”
Walker also said he keeps a close eye to the skies, especially when it means determining whether to “roll the buses out” or not. 
“We’re focused, I’ll tell you that,” said Walker. 
Walker said those at his school are “praying for those families” in Oklahoma that suffered loss and devastation.
Tiger Robinson, Pulaski County Public Safety Director, said that local emergency responders “stepped their guard up” in the wake of the Oklahoma storms.
“We’re deeply saddened by the losses there,” he said. “It brought it up to us again that it can happen in Somerset as well as in Oklahoma.”
He said that local fire departments, the county’s rescue squad, and other critical agencies perform yearly training on what to do if ever faced by a situation like the one in the news — this includes specific preparedness exercises for dealing with collapsed structures, search and rescue efforts, and weather spotting.
“You can never be too prepared — if you think you’re too prepared, you need to quit the business,” said Robinson. “We watch the radars and the storm system as they develop. All emergency personnel across the county, the law enforcement, (they) try to keep track of what’s going on.”
While storms are rolling into the area — some hit last night, causing limited damage countywide; those today are expected to potentially include some “severe” storms — Robinson said Tuesday that there was nothing on the radar that “jumped out at” him as particularly worrisome. Still, “tornadoes are a different animal. It can be a clear morning and the next moment, you’re having a tornado.”

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