Safe Schools 101

Since the tragic loss of lives, including seven Oklahoma students, in the May 2013 tornado outbreak, many in the state have called for safe rooms in each of our schools. The tornadoes resulted in two schools destroyed, with at least 54 others schools damaged, according to the Oklahoma Department of Education. Numerous students, faculty and staff were injured in the storm.

Based on initial observations of area schools visited after the tornadoes as well as support from Governor Mary Fallin, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) created “Safe Schools 101,” an initiative that brings subject matter experts to provide training for volunteer architects, engineers, and state and local officials who will then perform assessments of individual school structures.

Volunteers will use the assessment to provide realistic options for hardening and/or installation of safe rooms in the structure as well as offering recommendations for safe refuge areas already existing in the school. The school district will have the opportunity to choose which actions if any it would like to take based on the results of the assessment.

The overall goal of the program is to assess every school in the state. However, the program is, and will remain voluntary for both schools and participants in the training.

Safe Schools 101 is now available statewide for site safety assessments. Future training classes shall be held at state technology centers in Enid, Lawton, Norman, Tulsa, and Wilburton. Site visits will be conducted from each of the training sites following the classroom training.

School districts may request site safety assessments at their locations by contacting safeschools101@oem.ok.gov. Assessments shall be conducted when students are not present at the school site and when site assessment teams are available.

There is no cost for a Safe Schools 101 assessment or to participate in the training.  

Should there be any questions regarding this program or any other Emergency Management issues, please contact:

Rich Donaldson
Grant County Emergency Managment/Safety Director
Grant County Courthouse.
112 E. Guthrie Rm. 104
Medford, OK 73759

Tel. (Office) 580-395-2214
(Cell) 580-541-1027
Fax: 580-395-2603
Email:grantcountyem@gmail.com