NIXA, Mo.– Nixa Public School officials say the Joplin tornado changed the way the district looked at severe weather readiness.
“We had the ability to learn a lot from what happened in Joplin,” said Chief Communications Officer Zac Rantz.
Rantz says this included updating the district’s tornado drills.
“We moved a lot of our students out the hallways across our buildings, they’re either in FEMA safe rooms or interior classrooms,” said Rantz.
He says the FEMA safe rooms are also open to the community.
“They’re open as soon as a tornado watch is issued,” said Rantz. “We have volunteers that man those and are there through the tornado watch or the tornado warning to make sure our community has a safe place to go.”
Rantz says it’s important to bring items like food, water, and medications with you.
“The idea behind the saferooms is for people to have a place to go before the severe weather hits,” said Rantz.
He says to plan on being there for at least several hours.
“We’ve had those tornado watches and warnings that have gone eight to twelve hours and then we’ve had some that are short,” said Rantz.
Nixa Assistant Superintendent, Kevin Kopp, says the district is working to increase the number of buildings that are storm-safe.
“One of the ways we do that is by hardening the structures that we have,” said Kopp.
Kopp says the district’s long-term plan includes creating storm-safe places at all of its campuses.