Schools across the state conduct annual tornado drill

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -Schools throughout the state practiced what they would do in case of a tornado Wednesday as a part of severe weather preparedness week.

“It’s just a good time to have that conversation of what happens or what we should do and what our plan should be should we have severe weather,” said Randy Gentry, Pitt County emergency management director.

Gentry said the standard position is the best approach, “You get to your lowest point within your interior room, a room with no windows and try to find something to cover your head and face to protect yourself.”

While the annual drills help show the students what to do in case of a tornado, they can be just as helpful for the staff at the school.

“We’re the ones orchestrating it. The kids are the ones that are listening to us, and it helps us to be reflective on things. What if I am in the situation? What if I’m in lunch, and a tornado doesn’t come every time at 9:30 in the morning, so what would we do?” said Allison Setser, Eastern Elementary School principal.

It also helps the kids trust their teachers in what can be a scary situation.

“We talk to them about the main priority: keeping calm, listening to the adults, and mainly helping their anxiety; it’s knowing what to do. So if they know what to do, and they know that our job is to keep them safe, and their trusted adults are parents at school, they just need to trust us to listen,” said Setser.

Gentry also mentioned the importance of staying aware of potential bad weather in your area here in Pitt County; you can do so by signing up for the emergency alert system here.

According to the National Weather Service, the last severe tornado to impact North Carolina was in Rocky Mount in July.