Horry County schools practice safety procedures for tornadoes


Students and staff at Horry County schools practiced tornado drills as part of the National Weather Services's "Severe Weather Awareness Week," on Thursday morning.

Most people across South Carolina went through safety procedures Wednesday, but Horry County schools pushed it to Thursday because students had ACT testing on Wednesday.

"At this time we are having a practice tornado drill. This is a silent drill," said Vicki Underwood, the principal of Riverside Elementary, right at 9 a.m. over the loud speaker for students and teachers.

During the drill, teachers encourage students to silently walk from their classrooms, to the hallway and then crouch down on the ground next to the wall with their hands on their heads.

"This is very important because we never know what type of natural disaster is going to come," said Underwood. "We just want to prepare our children to be safe with any situation."

Underwood says they practice a number of drills throughout the year including tornado drills and fire drills. She says students know what to expect, so they're not anxious when practicing them.

"Depending on the grade level of course, teachers are masters at knowing how to talk to children on their age level," explained Underwood. "So with the 5th graders and the 4th graders, they might go a little more in depth than the primary kids. But the important thing is that they know exactly what to do."

In May of last year, there were at least three tornadoes in just a few months, across the Grand Strand and the Pee Dee, just to name a few in 2017.

Related: Tornadoes without warning: What locals, officials have to say about unpredictable weather

And while they're not entirely common in the area, Underwood says it's best to stay weather aware and practice these drills to be safe and prepared.

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