Storms and tornados
Anyone who’s read the story of The Three Little Pigs—and everyone who’s had children—knows the importance of a sturdy building when strong winds blow. While it may not be possible to make a building completely storm and tornado-proof, we’ve done everything we can to make our school safe for your kids when bad weather strikes. We built our facility with insulated concrete form (ICF) construction, meaning that concrete-core walls nearly a foot thick protect the precious contents of our building.
You don’t have to be a construction expert to understand the safety benefits of ICF walls. Just watch the video embedded below, which simulates a tornado-blown piece of lumber crashing into various wall types. Or, click here if you’d prefer to skip the explanation and jump directly to the cannon-launch of a 2×4.
The “Activity Center” inside of the building is the safe place where we take cover during inclement weather (and our spring and fall tornado drills). This windowless room has walls that are 15″ thick, and it’s large enough to hold all of our students and staff.
We’ve also taken extra steps to make sure that our roof will stay put in severe weather. We bolted the wooden top plates of our walls into the concrete core of the wall. Then we attached each roof truss to the top plates with two hurricane straps. Finally, we placed wood blocking between each roof truss on the top place to increase the overall strength of the roof structure.
A sprinkler system protects our entire building, and it’s designed to quickly extinguish any fires. Additionally, each classroom has a dedicated external exit door. We also conduct fire drills during each school year, so that students and staff stay aware of their escape plan.
Why wait until a threat is detected to secure a school? The preschool wing of our building stays on lockdown during school hours, and it’s guarded by an electronic locking mechanism. That means that the only people who can get into the building without checking in at our office are the handful of staff who know our lock’s unique PIN code. All other guests—parents, visitors, or friends—must be “buzzed in” to the office. Additionally, we regularly practice lockdown drills with our staff and students.