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April 18, 2024

Safety is everything to parents and sending kids to a daycare that keep them protected is no exception. That includes protecting them from severe weather. 

Midland's Meteorologist, Bruce Jones visited Selma, Alabama where he talked to a daycare about preparedness efforts underway in case of another devastating tornado. 

A TORNADO WARNING

At 11:32 on the morning of January 12, 2023, the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Alabama issued a tornado warning for the historic city of Selma.

At Crosspoint Daycare, director Sharon Reid realized she, her teachers, and 72 students were in the direct path of the tornado.

PUTTING THE PLAN INTO ACTION

Tornado safety protocol in a facility with no basement is to avoid large areas, and take shelter in the smallest, most centrally-located rooms of the building. 

Ms. Reid moved all students and teachers out of their large classrooms and into the smaller restrooms, where everyone got low to the floor and covered their heads.

A DRILL BECOMES THE REALITY

How many times have you practiced a school tornado drill, or taken shelter during a Tornado Warning that never produced a tornado? Consider those events as “practice sessions” for the real thing because Sharon Reid practiced these drills many times.

On this particular stormy day in January, she saved the lives of everyone inside Crosspoint. At 12:02 p.m., exactly thirty minutes after the Tornado Warning alerted her, an EF2 tornado scored a direct hit on her daycare. Despite massive damage to hallways and classrooms, teachers and students walked out of the restrooms unharmed.

Crosspoint Daycare destroyed classroom

Photo courtesy: NWS- Birmingham 

 

MULTIPLE, REDUNDANT WAYS OF RECEIVING ALERTS

It’s important to have a plan for surviving severe weather, but even more important to have multiple, redundant ways to get warnings when they’re issued. 

NOAA Weather Radio, the “Voice of the National Weather Service” automatically alerted Selma 30 minutes before the tornado arrived.

Public Alert-certified weather radios like the Midland WR120 are specifically designed to silently monitor the NOAA broadcast and automatically alert you when life-threatening storms approach.  They’re like “smoke detectors for storms”.

LOOKING BACK ON THE STORM

On January 13, 2024 Jones attended a one-year remembrance of the Selma tornado at the downtown ArtsRevivebuilding where he was honored to work alongside the National Weather Service meteorologists who issued that Tornado Warning. 

The group programmed and distributed more than 130 WR120 NOAA Weather Radios to folks who were mighty relieved to get one. Selma residents now know that not every severe weather event is “for practice only”. 

A mosaic at ArtsRevive was made of shattered glass and pottery from the tornado debris. It shows the black tornado on the left, the landmark Edmund Pettus Bridge quaking in the wind and a beautiful butterfly emerging from behind an intact bridge, flying into the blue sky above a repaired Selma.

ArtsRevive mosaic depicting the tornado

Photo courtesy: Bruce Jones

 

Historic Edmund Pettus Bridge

Photo courtesy: Bruce Jones

 

DAYCARES AND WR12 NOAA WEATHER ALERT RADIOS

“Should my daycare have a NOAA Weather Radio?” Absolutely!

If you are a daycare provider, especially in your own home, you owe it to your clients to do everything in your power to protect their children – and your employees. 

MIDLAND WR120 NOAA WEATHER ALERT RADIO

The Midland WR120 radio is perfect for daycares and schools because it is one device that does just one thing. When its 80-decibel alert tone goes off, you know it is a weather bulletin that needs your immediate attention

The National Weather Service averages a 13-minute lead time on tornado warnings, 25 minutes for severe thunderstorms. 

Having a Midland WR-120 in your daycare gives you time to put your safety plan into immediate action.  In Selma, that was the difference between a tragedy and a happy ending. 

 

 

 


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