Tornado prompts Norman schools to evaluate policy

NORMAN — A tornado that struck Norman shortly after middle-school students were dismissed for the day has led the district to re-evaluate its emergency communication policy.

BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: April 26, 2012
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NORMAN — A tornado that struck Norman shortly after middle-school students were dismissed for the day has led the district to re-evaluate its emergency communication policy.

No one was hurt in the April 13 tornado, but Norman Public Schools Superintendent Joe Siano said there was some confusion as 68 buses were out on the streets as the severe weather approached the area.

Siano told a local newspaper that communication was a “tremendous challenge” after the storm knocked out cellphone towers and land line connections.

“We intermittently lost connection with our sites and the buses' radio connection was both erratic and confused, with lots of different people on at once, all trying to report their respective situations,” he said.

The district has bought new radios equipped with GPS for the school buses and they should be installed by August, Siano said.

“This way, we'll know exactly where each bus is without their having to report it, and we'll be able to pinpoint which buses are nearest the storm or event,” he said.

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