Fort Madison Middle School's safe room is ready for severe weath - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Fort Madison Middle School's safe room is ready for severe weather

FORT MADISON, Ia. (WGEM) - Tornado watches are often issued in mid-to-late afternoon right when school is starting to get out.

Now there's a new trend to add tornado shelters to public schools.

Fort Madison Middle School Assistant Principal Bill Maupin says the school's new safe room is over 7,000 square feet and can hold more than 1,000 people.

The safe room is built to withstand tornado force winds of up to 250 miles-per-hour winds.

"I was just so thankful that we could have something like this to get the kids in," Maupin said. "You know where the new middle school is we are kind of out in the open. It's not like the old middle school where we were in a residential neighborhood. We are wide open, so it's a peace of mind for us."

Lee County Emergency Management Director Steve Cirrina has been at ground zero after tornados have ripped through towns and says these rooms are critical when many lives are at stake.

"If something like this happened like a tornado comes along, trying to evacuate that many kids in that short of time is just not practical," Cirrina said.

The safe room meets FEMA standards and is equipment with emergency gear.

The school received 85 percent of the funding from state and federal grants for the $1.5 million building.


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