With the approaching severe weather season, the Van Buren School District has issued a reminder of the procedures and locations of the district’s seven tornado safe rooms.
The safe rooms are located at Tate, King, Rena and Parkview Elementary school, Butterfield Trail Middle School, Van Buren High School Freshman Academy and Van Buren High School.
District safe rooms were constructed by the Van Buren School District in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They are designed and constructed to withstand the pressures of 200 mph tornadic winds, according to Shari Ross, VBSD administrative assistant.
"Safe room doors will be unlocked at the first tornado warning siren," Ross said. "Safe room doors do not open until that time." Safe room doors will close when the tornado warning expires.
Safe rooms will accommodate pets contained within airline approved pet carriers and are tobacco-free facilities per Arkansas law.
Ross said students, school faculty and staff will have priority during the school day.
"During severe weather after school hours the safe room is available for community shelter," she said.
The safe room manager will open and close the facility and has access to a severe weather radio and can answer questions.
"Safe rooms are not stocked with food, cots, pillows or blankets," Ross said. "They are stocked with a first-aid kit and 12 or fewer chairs for the elderly or physically challenged."