Officials: Damaged Okla. Elementary Schools Lacked Safe Rooms

MOORE, Okla. — Although more than 100 schools across Oklahoma have safe rooms, two schools that were devastated by Monday’s EF-5 tornado — Plaza Towers Elementary School and Briarwood Elementary School — did not.

As many as 24 people — seven of those deaths being students from Plaza Towers Elementary — were killed from the twister with winds of at least 200 mph.

Metal safe rooms can be built above ground or underground, and must undergo demanding tests to make sure they can sustain winds up to 250 mph, ABC News reports. Although both Plaza Towers and Briarwood Elementary schools had practiced tornado drills, they did not have safe rooms because of a lack of funding. State officials are currently seeking ways to get the funds to add more safe rooms as schools across the stat.

Alabama is the only state that requires all new schools to have safe rooms for students.

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