School Business Affairs May 2020

24 MAY 2020 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS When the Sky Is Falling: Safe Rooms and Storm Shelters School districts address the threat of tornadoes and other extreme weather events. By Adrienne Reitz A ccording to the National Weather Service, 1,676 tornadoes touched down across the United States in 2019, taking dozens of lives and causing billions of dollars in dam- age. To protect lives, many communities—especially those in Tornado Alley—have installed safe rooms and storm shelters. Storm shelters and safe rooms are mandated in some parts of the country; however, they are generally limited in use overall because of their cost and the perceived lack of need. As the threat of tornadic activity continues to grow, including in states that rarely saw tornadoes in the past—there were 1,123 confirmed tornadoes nation- wide in 2018 compared with 1,676 last year—school districts have more reason than ever to include these life- saving spaces in schools. Being Prepared A state or locality that has adopted International Building Code 2015 or later and is in an area with an increased risk of tornadoes (identified as the 250-miles- per-hour wind zone) may be mandated to incorporate tornado safe rooms in their buildings. The 250-mph wind zone includes all of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Ohio and touches parts of Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michi- gan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, RISK MANAGEMENT MINERVA STUDIO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM