The devastating tornado that left seven children dead in Moore, Oklahoma has resulted in extensive media coverage. As with other mass casualty school crisis events, inaccurate and potentially dangerous information has been reported.
For example, news reports have related that it is always dangerous to use hallways for tornado shelter areas. Having worked with thousands of schools across the nation and with architects and engineers who design them, there are situations where following this advice could result in mass casualty loss of human life. With the dramatically varying designs of schools across the United States, there are schools where some interior hallways are the best available shelter.
I have had the good fortune to interact with many different people who are well versed on specialty areas in the school safety arena. Steve Satterly has spent considerable time researching school safety topics including school tornado preparedness measures. I have thus far never met anyone who knows more about the topic of school tornado preparedness than Steve. After carefully reviewing the research on this Steve makes a convincing case that assuming that hallways are never suitable shelter areas could result in less safe areas being selected. As with school shooting incidents, making blanket conclusions based on any one tornado event can be a serious and potentially deadly mistake.