A comfort call

Published 9:32 pm Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday morning, the teachers, staff and administrators with the Decatur County schools acted prudently by immediately putting students under a lock down following a tornado warning.

The school administration also implemented its calling system, where parents with their correct phone number on file with Department of Education were called. The phone calls informed the parents that their children were at school in safe locations following the issuance of the warning.

The phone call system is a relatively new way of communicating with parents in Decatur County. It comes after the tragic tornado that struck Enterprise, Ala., in March 2007, killing 19 persons, eight of them at Enterprise High School.

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Students were kept in a “lock-down” mode for approximately 45 minutes while a line of severe weather passed through Decatur County. Damage was relatively light, and the National Weather Service never confirmed a tornado, just straight-line winds that exceeded 70 to 80 miles an hour.

“We kept the lines of communication open,” said Decatur County Schools Superintendent Ralph Jones.

It was prudent to put the students under lock down. It was even better that parents had the opportunity to hear from the schools on the situation and the steps taken to keep their children safe.

“It made them feel better,” Jones said.

But it was also better for the community that those lines of communication were open and that accurate information about a serious situation was relayed swiftly.