North Putnam Community School Corporation will be conducting tornado drills next week in conjunction with Indiana's Severe Weather Preparedness Week on March 15-21.
Schools typically conduct these drills during the school day. North Putnam will take it a step further and conduct drills at the end of the school day that will involve the school buses.
Because of these drills, bus dismissal will be delayed 15-20 minutes while the schools conduct the drills.
"We plan to take two days to conduct these drills. One day we'll focus on the two elementary schools. On the other day, the drill will be conducted at the middle and high schools," said Kevin Emsweller, Assistant to the Superintendent.
According to the National Weather Service, "tornadoes can occur any time of day or night, any time of the year. In Indiana, peak tornado occurrences are from April to June and between 3 and 8 p.m."
"We have been finding this true. In previous years, we had a couple of severe storm warnings in the spring, close to dismissal time and when we had buses on the road. A few years ago, in November, a tornado warning was issued just as we were beginning to dismiss the buses, said Emsweller. "Students were kept at school for over an hour until the storm passed.''
After that incident, North Putnam school personnel looked at what went right and what needed to be changed. A major concern was the evacuation of the buses and moving a large number of students to the school's designated safe areas.
"This is something we want to see if the changes we are making to our procedures will work. This will be the fourth year for us to conduct this type of drill," said Emsweller.
Governor Mitch Daniel proclaimed March 15-21 as "Severe Weather Preparedness Week." The National Weather Service, in cooperation with the Department of Education, state and local Homeland Security units, state and local police, other public groups and units of governments will conduct a statewide server weather/tornado drill.
The National Weather Service has established an evening drill exercise on Wednesday, March 18 between 7-7:30 p.m. Parents are encouraged to practice appropriate severe weather procedures at home with their families.