Some are questioning the need for tornado drills

Steve Miller

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The spring tornado drill has been around for decades. But this year’s may be one of the last in Missouri.
A movement is gaining steam to look at the need to continue the official drill in the future.

Today, when sirens sounded at 1:30 pm for the drill, most, but not all schools and municipalities participated.

At Eureka High School, students were ushered from their classrooms to the designated shelters in order to remind them of what to do if this had been the real deal.

Two years ago, in Moore, Oklahoma, it was the real deal. An EF-5 tornado tore through Plaza Towers elementary killing 7 students and injuring several others.

National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jim Kramper says he’s not sure the need exists for a formal statewide drill any longer. “I don`t think I`ll say it will be the last, but we need to start the discussion of if we need to continue doing these in terms of what are we really testing. Are we really adequately testing all the various methods that these warnings go out on? I don`t think we are because we don`t really have a method of tracking these to see who is doing what.”

Case-in-point, the City of St. Louis opted out of today’s drill at the last minute without notifying the National Weather Service. City officials telling FOX 2 News they didn’t want to needlessly disturb folks on a gloomy day.

Story can be found here.
 
Growing up in Oklahoma, I thought everyone did tornado drills. We did them several times a year at school. The cities test their sirens on a weekly basis (I think it was on Wednesdays in Tulsa, it's Saturdays here in Yukon). We moved to Kentucky my freshman year of high school. While they tested sirens every now and then, I can count on one hand the number of tornado drills we did. I'm not sure if they've changed that since I graduated 10 years ago or not. It was definitely a bit of a shock when I realized they didn't prepare for that kind of stuff like we do in OK.
 

rdale

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It appears the headline doesn't match the story at Fox2... I don't think Jim is questioning the need for tornado drills in schools. He's questioning the need for a single statewide tornado drill.

It appears Missouri residents aren't worried about tornadoes, as there is no law requiring tornado drills at schools.

http://www.semissourian.com/story/1192548.html

But they also don't require fire drills or even active shooter drills. That blows my mind! Even in little old Michigan there's a law which sets the number of drills required by every school private or public: 4 fire, 3 shooter, and 2 tornado. Apparently in Missouri they don't get tornadoes, have fires, or angry students. Wow...
 
Having chased in the SE Missouri area many times (before it was even cool to do so) I am not surprised to see this complacency of some - and it appears it hasn't changed much in the last 15 years. First hand experience from that area during a severe weather event by locals left me in a daze. Upon interception of our first supercell in April of 2000 near Advance, Mo, I tried utilizing amateur radio on the listed repeater that was "active" during severe weather. Upon my break, break, I interrupted a QSO ragchew between a couple older "gentleman" who happened to be discussing farming equipment and had no idea of the impending weather events. My local calls to the [URL='http://www.crh.noaa.gov/pah']Paducah NWSFO went unanswered. I chalked it up to the weather and thought they must be busy. But of more concern was the total complacency of the locals -many had no clue what was about to happen and for the most part didn't really seem to care as our words of caution certainly fell on deaf ears. [/URL]
I know we have all dealt with and seen this kind of mentality in certain CWAs or particular areas but it does seem that some areas are far worse than others. This being a prime example.
"Case-in-point, the City of St. Louis opted out of today’s drill at the last minute without notifying the National Weather Service. City officials telling FOX 2 News they didn’t want to needlessly disturb folks on a gloomy day".

Without sounding like a jerk, and I know we have all heard this before but - I wonder if it might take another Joplin type to get folks to reconsider the elementary thought process and or the politics?

And Rob is correct....I graduated from a small private high school in Springfield and I do not ever recall having participated in any drills, weather related or otherwise. Going back to the Joplin event....makes you wonder how many more souls would have been lost if this would have taken place a few days prior during actual school hours?
 
"National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jim Kramper says he’s not sure the need exists for a formal statewide drill any longer. “I don`t think I`ll say it will be the last, but we need to start the discussion of if we need to continue doing these in terms of what are we really testing. Are we really adequately testing all the various methods that these warnings go out on? I don`t think we are because we don`t really have a method of tracking these to see who is doing what.”"

I'm not sure he's saying that testing needs to be eliminated so much as he's saying the current testing has no method of verification and maybe a better system needs to replace it. It's a short quote from what is obviously larger content. If he is truly saying testing just needs to be stopped, that would be idiotic as the Warning Coordination Meteorologist. You don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. To me it sounds like he is being misquoted or selectively quoted.

Here is a quote from a source I would consider more respectable and it sounds like he is all for drills:
"“So ask yourself ‘Okay, if I’m threatened by bad weather do I know what to do?'” Kramper says. “What to do if you’re at work, at home, driving. Because if you’re faced with it all of a sudden, you may not have time to sit there and go through a checklist, you’ve got to respond quickly.”"

If you ask me the original article is more click bait than news.