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Ozark School Prepared for Extreme Weather

Carroll High School shows WDHN classrooms that also double as tornado shelters.

This may look like any other classroom but these walls are actually a tornado shelter. In 2010 Alabama passed a law requiring new schools to have safe rooms. Most commonly schools designate a hallway on the bottom floor of the school as the shelter area. At the new Carroll High School in Ozark there are two hallways that have been built with reinforced walls--but not only are there hallways, there are actual classrooms that have been designed to be shelters.

"The whole surrounding area is reinforced concrete with rebar so up to 200 MPH our students can sit in a classroom and have class during severe weather," said Patrick Brannan, the principal at Carroll High School.

Students have already been practicing the tornado drills and for some students they know firsthand how important the shelters may be someday.

"I helped out in enterprise for the reestablishment and it was devastation. I feel like it should be a priority to have storm shelters,” said Alex Harrison.

Administration says not only is this type of classroom shelter practical, it's also comfortable.

"It's no longer crammed, on your knees up against each other. We have plenty of room so we can spread out and be comfortable and not necessarily have to get into those uncomfortable positions that we did before... We can spend thirty, forty minutes; we've had instances where we spend up to an hour in the halls and if you've got kids bent over for that long and uncomfortable, it's just really a bad situation," Brannan said.

School administrators say they've taken every precaution and in this area the tornado shelters were at the top of their list.
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