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CORRECTION: National Safety Shelters Secure Students and Staff During Recent Tornadoes

All Quitman school district students and staff were safe and unharmed after a recent tornado struck Quitman, Arkansas thanks to the National Safety Shelters pods installed in each classroom in 2018. Students and staff successfully took refuge in the shelters, located in classrooms, within 90 seconds ― securing everyone without incident.

Parents and staff were grateful and impressed with the American-made shelters’ performance. Some educators are crediting this assurance of security with increased student enrollment.

“We live in tornado alley and therefore we need to be as prepared as possible,” said Dennis Truxler, superintendent of the Quitman School District. “A school district southwest of us has been hit by a tornado, and one northeast of us was hit twice. Finding the most effective product for rapidly securing our students and staff was our top priority. We found that in the pods designed by National Safety Shelters.”

The safety pods are rated as able to withstand the highest category (EF5) tornado. They are constructed with ballistic steel used by the U.S. Army for armored vehicles. Schools nationwide must be prepared to keep students and staff safe from active shooters, extreme weather, and natural disasters. Each National Safety Shelters pod is constructed with American-made, National Institute of Justice (NIJ), ballistic level III, virtually bullet-proof steel. This makes them effective in protecting those inside from threats such as shooters, bombs, earthquakes, and tornadoes.

The shelters can be installed easily into existing classrooms. The design of the pods allows for customization to any amount of square footage and any layout. Most importantly, they are designed to be immediately accessible.

Since they are located in classrooms, the pods eliminate the danger posed by leaving the safety of classrooms to venture down hallways ― where students and staff are vulnerable to hazards like falling objects or an active shooter, depending on the situation.

“The process during the tornado was very easy to execute, as each shelter has a door that you simply open and walk in. Teachers asked students to line up, one student was designated to open the door, and students entered in single file before the door was closed. It was simple,” said Truxler.

Parents and school board members alike agree that the shelters are “the best safety feature that a school district could invest in to protect their students and staff.” Truxler credits the security the shelters provide ― and the peace of mind that comes with knowing they are there ― as part of the reason for the district’s 20% increase in student enrollment. Most of the new students have matriculated from neighboring districts. Significantly, revenue from the increase in student enrollment has more than covered the cost of purchasing and installing the shelters.

Melissa Bobo, mother of two children in the Quitman Schools District, said she is glad the schools have installed the shelters. “I am very grateful that their school is able to provide a safer environment for my children,” she said.

Truxler describes parents’ reaction to the shelters as “overwhelmingly positive” and reiterates his gratitude for, and belief in, the investment. “I spent a lot of time researching and reading articles concerning school safety and nothing compares to our shelters. I am 100% satisfied with the security that the shelters produced by National Safety Shelter provide to our students and staff.”

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