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Cache Schools Buildings Have Safe Rooms

CACHE, Okla_ Those seven children died in Moore's Plaza Towers Elementary School during Monday's tornado, because that building simply could not withstand the violent twister.

7News reported Tuesday that Marlow is building an elementary school that will be strong enough to withstand strong storms. In Cache, they already have a tornado-safe school.

When they started upgrading their classrooms ten years ago, they included safe rooms and have continued to do so with each new addition. Now, they have 13 rooms able to hold all 1,800 of their students from kindergarten to high school. 

On Monday, people in the path of the storm were given only 16 minutes to take cover.  7News has learned it takes students and teachers less than two minutes to get inside a safe room.  It's a plan and a structure they hope will save lives.

"This is a very good, solid plan," Cache 5th and 6th Grade Principal Debbie Hoffman said. "That takes our students safety at heart, which is really at the first and front of our minds."

Cache began in 2003 building safe rooms following a safety inspection. They learned the kids were not safe in their hallways, and they needed a new plan. With each new building, safe rooms became a priority.

"It was really important to me and the Board of Education here that we keep developing plans to keep the schools safer for all kinds of disasters," Cache Public Schools Superintendent Randy Batt said.

It doesn't stop there. Teachers and students are prepared to take action at the sound of the siren, lining up and filling the safe room class by class.  Also, a heavy steel door adds to the security.

"It protects from any wind or what have you," Hoffman said. "We have two in this room, so there is an exit from both doors. This is a very heavy door that is protective of our students."

Student safety is a motto for Cache Public Schools. They are creative in the construction of the rooms, with many doubling as large classrooms for band and vocal music to help with costs. Administrators say they could never put cost over efforts to save the life of a student.

"We feel like they will be safe here," Hoffman said. "We feel very fortunate to have had the vision when our schools were built or added onto that safe rooms were added."

Batt said each room holds between 100 and 300 people. These rooms are also open to the community during storms after school hours. 

 

 

 

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