Kevin Glover / Dr. Demuth




Recently several calls and e-mails have asked for verification of the correct tornado safety position for children to take during drills (and actual tornadoes) in schools.

The correct tornado safety position is like the one illustrated in the "Tornadoes: Nature's Most Violent Storms" brochure (ARC 5002). The child should be sitting/kneeling FACING the wall, with his/her hands over the back of his/her head and neck, tucked into a ball.

There was concern from some people that this leaves the child's back exposed and therefore subject to spinal injury. Over 50 years of statistics collected by the Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Public Health Service, indicate that NO children have been injured by a tornado when they are in this position. Contrarily, data indicate that there have been some injuries to children when they are facing the other way. The injuries those children received were abrasions, cuts, and contusions caused by flying debris; and severe eye injuries (including two children blinded, one in Illinois in 1982)... children can't help but want to try to look up and thus get debris in their eyes. The other major problem with the face-forward position is, once again as kids can't resist trying to "sneak a peek," there are documented cases of severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in children who observe damage while it is happening.

So, please use the brochure for the explanation and illustration of the correct tornado safety position, and use the above information to dispel concerns about potential spinal/back injury.



There will be two commands,

1.      IOC meeting. An I-O-C meeting is called to alert teachers and leaders that a possible intruder is in the bldg. and the known location of the intruder.

2.      Secure the building

Given the first command the following actions will be taken:

Action 3: I O C Meeting……


1       Teacher/Leader repeats announcement

2       To Obtain cooperation and silence from those in attendance

3       Obtain cooperation and silence from those in attendance

4       Complete a quick head count. as soon as possible.

5       Teacher/Leader reviews emergency action chart while she awaits further instructions (Let no children out of the classroom, students in hallways are to go to nearest classroom. Doors should already be locked.


This ACTION is considered appropriate for, alerting the building of a Preliminary intruder alert.



1       An announcement in person directly or over the public address system. Example: "Your attention please. (Pause) ACTION 4, SECURE BUILDING. (Pause) SECURE BUILDING. (Pause) SECURE BUILDING."

1       Teachers should initiate this ACTION anytime they hear extremely violent behavior, i.e., shots, etc., outside their classroom.

2       Use messengers with oral or written word as an alternate means of staff notification.


1       Teachers and other staff members are to immediately lock doors and have students lie on the floor.

2       While students are getting on floor, close any shades and/or blinds if it appears safe to do so.

3       Teachers and students are to remain on the floor until a staff member they recognize assures them that it is safe to unlock doors.

4       This ACTION will not normally be preceded with any warning.


This ACTION is considered appropriate for, but not limited to, the following:

Extreme Violence


Additional Information:

Two signals

1: IOC Meeting

Intruder Alert (Lock Down)

Goal: To maintain calm and order and not disrupt the classrooms any more than necessary. Students will not be alerted unless necessary.

Intruder Alert: General Procedures

1       Staff is to stop any stranger and inquire as to his/her business in the building.

1       Contact the office to be sure the visitor has registered. All authorized visitors must wear a visitor’s badge.

2       Security will be called when a person poses a threat to the safety of students or staff.

3       If an intruder is in the hall, call the office or escort the stranger to the office.

4       If an intruder is in the classroom, use the intercom to call the office for assistance. If danger exists, evacuate the students to a safe position away from the intruder.


Level Yellow: Suspected  Intruder. Teacher, we are sorry to interrupt. The IOC meeting in the ________.” (Fill in the location of the danger area.) Repeat announcement no less than three times.

Cancel signal: “The IOC meeting has been cancelled.”

Level Red: Intruder Identified.  Alert signal: “ACTION 4, SECRUE BUILDING. (Pause) SECURE BUILIDNG. (Pause) SECURE BUILDING.

Steps of Action

Give the signal and call security.

1       Lock outside doors

2       Take students into protected classrooms.

3       Check restrooms and vacant rooms.

4       Lock classroom doors.

5       Move students away from doors and windows.

6       Teachers will conduct an immediate head count and call into the main office using the PA system, the number of students present and accounted for.

Personnel Roles

Principal:  Announce warning signal. If necessary, help evacuate students.

1       Elementary Principal will be responsible for checking all first floor classrooms and restrooms.

2       Assist Principal for Middle School will be responsible for checking all second floor classrooms and restrooms.

3       High School Principal will be responsible for checking all third floor classrooms and restrooms.

4       Athletic Director will check AC, locker rooms and kitchen.

5       Office Staff: Provide assistance to principal by handling telephones, monitor radio emergency broadcasts, assist with health emergencies as needed, acting as messengers, etc.

6       Custodians: Examine buildings and plant for damage, provide damage control, keep principal informed of condition of school, assist as directed by the principal.

7       Nurse: Administer first aid. Supervise administration of first aid by those trained in it. Organize first aid and medical supplies.

8       Teacher: Lock classroom door. Stay calm. Stay with children and protect them.

9       Staff: Assist with evacuation, if needed. Call security and custodial supervisor to start an immediate facility lock-down.

2. Secure the Building

Lock-down Procedures:

1       The procedure will be initiated by a special announcement over the school’s intercom system. Depending upon Level YELLOW or Level RED The key words for YELLOW will be “the IOC meeting is in (location).” Level RED signal is “ACTION 4: SECURE BUILDING. Care should be taken to assure that students are not given information unless necessary.

2       Students outside should be directed by the staff to go inside the building to a safe room (see current locations as announced during staff meetings).

3       The receptionist will call the custodial supervisor to do an immediate lock-down of all exterior doors of the facility.

4       The administrator should be notified of such action as soon as possible.