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Hernando County School Board

Safety, Security, & Emergency Management

Barry Crowley
Coordinator of Safety & Security 




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Tornado Safety Information
The Hernando County School Board and the Safety & Security Department  are very concerned about the safety and well-being of everyone in Hernando County.

Particularly during tornado season, we provide important information that we hope will be carefully reviewed by everyone who receives it. We cannot overstate the importance of knowing how to respond to a tornado warning while at school.

For persons viewing this page from outside the Hernando County area, check with local emergency authorities regarding specific shelter information in your area.

A tornado is destructive when it descends to earth, where its path may vary from 100 yards to one mile in width. Its forward speed will average 25 to 40 miles per hour. The following instructions for different areas and situations should be studied:

If you are in the open:

bulletMove at right angles to the tornado.
bulletAttempt to reach shelter such as a building with a basement.
bulletIf there is not time to escape or find shelter, lie flat in a ditch or depression, avoiding areas subject to rapid water accumulation or flooding in heavy rains.

If you are in class:

bulletThe Teachers and school administration shall advise you were to seek shelter. Students and staff should immediately proceed to a lower level hallway or class room of the building or to the nearest substantially-constructed building, if the facility being used is not suitable for shelter space. All Tornado walls will be marked with bright yellow signs indicating were you should be. Stay calm and follow the staff member who is in charge, instructions.

If you are attending a school related function:

bulletThe function will be terminated at once, and the participants advised promptly to take shelter on the ground floor away from glass . If the function is being held in a gymnasium, auditorium or cafeteria, those areas are not designated as a shelter. The area should be evacuated immediately and the occupants instructed to proceed to the nearest substantially-constructed building.

The Hernando County School Board maintains a County-wide Emergency Management Program. Tornado Warning sirens are installed in all schools and a Alpha Pager Network links all administrators to the National Weather Service's warning system, through DTN weather service.  All schools are also equipped with weather alert radios, 800mhz scanners (programmed with all county emergency frequencies), and a county wide weather alert e-mail system.

When the tornado sirens are sounded, it means IMMINENT DANGER. Take shelter immediately in the nearest suitable shelter space. Shelter space in our schools is identified in advance. Once the sirens sound, it is too late to seek shelter at a remote location!

An "all-clear" signal will NOT be given via the siren system. A voice message over the intercom system is the only recall that is used. DO NOT LEAVE THE SHELTER AREA UNTIL THE ALL CLEAR IS GIVEN!

Outside THE HERNANDO COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM , check with local authorities for information about what a "siren system" signal means (if one is used), and whether or not an all clear signal will be given by siren.


The National Weather Service broadcasts continuous weather status and forecast information on a special frequency of 162.400 Mhz from its Inverness tower. This information is updated hourly. In addition, the NWS will broadcast special alert tones and messages for tornado warnings, flash flood warnings and similar impending weather emergencies.

Persons in shelter spaces should not rely on visual observations of local conditions as a reliable indicator of the true status of the weather, since hail and tornados have been known to occur under apparently clear-sky conditions.

Safe shelter from a tornado may be sought in virtually any building of substantial masonry construction; almost all school facilities meet basic shelter criteria.

The lowest level of the building should be used, avoiding spaces with glass surfaces on any outside wall; doors can usually be arranged to augment protection.

Buildings of frame construction and those with broad, flat roofs or large open interior spaces (such as auditoriums, cafeterias, or gymnasiums) should not be used as shelter unless they are specifically designed for that use and posted. Many such areas, however, have adjacent service spaces (such as corridors, walk-in coolers, or showers) which are reasonably safe.

The Hernando County School System's Safety Department is responsible for the planning and coordination of Emergency Preparedness in all Hernando County Schools. We work closely with the Hernando County Emergency Management Office. Qualified public safety personnel are available to assist all schools with internal emergency planning or preparedness.

Anyone having questions about the information in this document or about the Hernando County Schools  emergency preparedness programs is invited to contact Barry Crowley at (325) 797-7054

Comments or suggestions with regard to this or other Safety programs of the Hernando County School System   are always welcome.

The National Weather Service (NWS), public news media, and public safety agencies utilize standardized terminology when referring to severe weather conditions; those terms most frequently used are listed and defined below:

Severe Thunderstorm

Wind gusts of 50 knots (58 mph) or greater and/or hail three-quarters of an inch in diameter or larger.

Damaging Wind

Sustained or gusty surface winds of 60 mph or greater.


A violent local storm of short duration with very high-speed winds rotating about a vortex with a funnel extending from the base of the clouds to the ground.

Funnel Cloud

A tornadic-type funnel extending downward from the clouds but NOT touching the ground.

Tornado or Severe Thunderstorm WATCH

Issued by the NWS as a precautionary alert when conditions are favorable for the development of tornados or severe thunderstorms in the specific area.

Tornado or Severe Thunderstorm WARNING

Issued when a tornado or severe thunderstorm has been sighted visually or detected by radar. The location and direction of movement, if known, are given, and residents of the specified WARNING area should take immediate safety precautions.


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