Tellico Plains High discusses disaster plans following tornado

Tellico Plains High discusses disaster plans following Okla. tornado

Posted:
The EF-2 caused major damage in the Tellico Plains area. The EF-2 caused major damage in the Tellico Plains area.
"We were in the gym shooting foul shots with the basketball team and we didn't know what was going on. We were just shooting and the lights went out, the power went out. We all went to the locker room," said Tellico Plains students Makena Shepherd. "We were in the gym shooting foul shots with the basketball team and we didn't know what was going on. We were just shooting and the lights went out, the power went out. We all went to the locker room," said Tellico Plains students Makena Shepherd.
"If we have a few minutes to get everyone, we can get them into the safest places we can find in the school. I tell the teachers to look for areas you would put your own children in," said Tellico Plains High School Principal Russell Harris. "If we have a few minutes to get everyone, we can get them into the safest places we can find in the school. I tell the teachers to look for areas you would put your own children in," said Tellico Plains High School Principal Russell Harris.

By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

TELLICO PLAINS (WATE) - Many of the images out of Oklahoma Tuesday are of those two elementary schools in the path of the tornado.

People in East Tennessee know what it's like to use a school for shelter, including Tellico Plains.

Tellico Plains was hit by an EF-2 tornado in March 2012, but students who were locked down in the high school during the storm remember it vividly.

"We were in the gym shooting foul shots with the basketball team and we didn't know what was going on. We were just shooting and the lights went out, the power went out. We all went to the locker room," said Tellico Plains students Makena Shepherd.

"We were in the lobby and they seen it I guess and they put us in the locker rooms," added sophomore Holley Kelly.

Faculty and staff go through safety drills at the beginning of each year.

"If we have a few minutes to get everyone, we can get them into the safest places we can find in the school. I tell the teachers to look for areas you would put your own children in," said Tellico Plains High School Principal Russell Harris.

Monroe County Schools let out early on March 2, trying to get students home before the storms predicted for later that day hit.

School buses were already on their way from elementary and junior high schools to pick up students from the high school.

Instead, students were taken from the buses and moved inside.

"We were already in a lockdown situation, but when they arrived, the tornado could be seen in the background," Harris explained.

After the storms passed, Monroe County Schools looked over the disaster plan.

"We just reviewed is and looked at what we could do better, because you can always find better places to go and communication becomes difficult when you have an emergency," Harris said.

Principal Harris also told 6 News that he chose to lockdown the school rather than release students because of updated local weather reports.

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