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Walker Valley High School stresses safety 5 years after April tornado outbreak

As a direct result of the tornadoes in Bradley County five years ago, Bradley County schools requested a FEMA grant to be used for a storm shelter at Walker Valley High School.

As a direct result of the tornadoes in Bradley County five years ago, Bradley County schools requested a FEMA grant to be used for a storm shelter at Walker Valley High School.

On Friday, we asked the question, are students safer in Bradley County, five years later?

In April 2011, a tornado destroyed Blue Springs Elementary in Bradley County.

Puddles of water on the floor, ceiling tiles were dangling and a community left thinking - how could they make sure they are better prepared if it happens again?

"I was just thinking back - five years [and] how fast that's gone," said Chris Green, assistant principal.

Inside the halls of Walker Valley High School, it looks like any other school would - students walk the halls, desks and chairs line the inside of classrooms but, outside- you'll find tornado safe signs.

Tornado safe rooms at Walker Valley, are designed for wind speeds up to 250 miles per hour.

"If we needed to, we could fit everybody in the building on this wing in case of severe weather," Green said.

And the safe rooms aren't just for faculty and students. The community can also come here when severe weather hits.

Chris Green shows us what makes this wing of the school different from the rest.

"These doors, if you were to compare these doors to the other doors in the building, they're much, much heavier. [And] much more sturdy to withstand those kinds of things," Green said.

Green says the classrooms also come with extra thick windows and the walls are made of cement.

Since this part of the school has been built, luckily, they've only had to use the shelter one time.

"People were asking me - 'can I leave can I leave?' And, I said, 'look - you absolutely can leave. We can't keep you here, but I can promise you there's not a safer place in town than this building right here,'" Green told us.

FEMA gave Bradley County schools $1.2million dollars for the storm shelter. Green says, it's now been in use, for 2 school years.

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