Valley Falls school designated storm shelter for public
by Clarke Davis
The school house is the designated storm shelter for the public who wish to take cover in times of threatening weather conditions in Valley Falls.
Fire Chief John Gordon, Mayor Charles Stutesman, Jefferson County Emergency Management Director Doug Schmitt, city Administrator Chris Channell, and school Principal Susan Grey met March 22 to discuss protocols in time of bad weather.
Fire District No. 11 personnel will have the keys and access to the school when classes are not in session.
The fire chief said residents should come to the north side and they will be given access to the downstairs locker area. There is an exterior stairway next to the band room.
When school is in session, the public should come to the east door and gather near the principal’s office inside until all the children have been taken to the basement shelter.
Adults will then be given access to the hallway in the elementary building on the first level.
“We believe this is a safe area, but the children must to looked after first,” Gordon said. “If there is room and time, the adults might be taken to the basement.”
The school will continue to be the gathering place this summer for people who do not have a safe place, including visitors to town who might be on the ball fields or at the city park or swimming pool.
The officials spent time touring the Delaware Township Hall, which all agree is the best place if it were not for the basement windows that could blow out in a storm and injure people.
Mayor Stutesman said there might be some federal grant money available before too long to replace the windows with shatter-proof glass.
Director Schmidt told the group that FEMA may soon have some grant money once a county plan is put in place.
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