When Severe Weather Threatens, Personal Experience Guides Superintendent

Reported by: Aaron Adelson
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Updated: 5/22/2013 6:16 pm
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AAdelsonABC36

When severe weather threatens the safety of children in Fayette County, Superintendent Tom Shelton draws on personal experience for guidance.

He knows the destruction a tornado can bring. 

"A tornado sounds a lot like a train," said Dr. Shelton.

He lost his childhood home in Cynthiana on April 3rd, 1974.  A tornado outbreak killed 77 Kentuckians.

"I just remember feeling fortunate that I was with my family and that we were all safe," said Dr. Shelton.

Shelton's home got hit again in 2000, when a tornado touched in Owensboro.  Shelton was working while the tornado barreled towards his home.

"I had no communication availability inside, and so I had to step out to communicate, because I had to let our schools know what they needed to do, and make sure people knew where to go," said Shelton.

He says his home suffered $40,000 in damage, and the schools needed $6 million in repairs. 

He takes severe weather threats very seriously. 

After the tornado in Oklahoma, authorities found 7 children drowned to death in their school's basement.  Authorities believe water pipes broke, flooding the spot where the children went for safety. 

After the tornado in Moore, the Fayette County Public Schools' Emergency Team reviewed its safety plan.

"Looked at where our students gather for either a drill, or in case there is severe weather to make sure we didn't have any water pipes that were adjacent to any of those areas," said Shelton.

After the review, Fayette County Public Schools quickly changed a shelter-in-place location at Morton Middle School.

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