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Earthquake preparedness not a major priority in Tulsa area schools

The Oklahoma School Board Association is addressing earthquake safety in schools. (KTUL)

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- The Oklahoma School Board Association is addressing earthquake safety in schools. It has become an issue in some district where the tremors can be felt.

The State of Oklahoma does not require earthquake drills, but some schools still perform them.

Tulsa Public Schools added earthquake procedures to its school safety plan but does not require drills.

Students are going through 16 drills this year, including fire, tornadoes, hazardous materials and intruders on campus.

“I have felt earthquakes at home, but I have never felt one here,” said teacher Aileen Bernert.

School administrators feel the procedures are enough, because earthquakes are not a major issue in the Tulsa area.

“There are parts of the state, if our kids lived there, I would be working on quake drills in a heartbeat. But not necessarily in this area, it is very low on my priority list for the Tulsa area,” said Emergency Management Director Bob Roberts.

State Rep. Mike Shelton says he pushed several bills to require more school safety in recent years after seeing buildings, including a high school, damaged.

“It is not going to become important until something devastating happens to one of our children. Tulsa has not been hit with a bunch of earthquakes. But it has been north of Oklahoma City, not far from Tulsa, where they could be affected,” said Shelton.

Administrators say they review policies each year and feel confident with a safety plan in every building. The state requires 10 drills every year but Tulsa does six more.

“We run a lot of drills already, adding another drill to the plate, it would be challenging,” said Roberts.

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