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Perfect Storm, Imperfect Communication

May 12, 2014

This afternoon, Monday, 5/12/14,  marked “one of those days.” As a potentially dangerous storm moved quickly into the area, it appeared to be centered largely north of the district, with warnings posted in the Brighton and Whitmore Lake areas.  Then, at just about the worst possible time (3:45 pm),  a tornado warning sounded for the Saline area.  Schools had all dismissed – High School and Middle School students were already home, and the elementary schools were either on buses or in the process of loading.  The sirens sounded. Students, staff and visitors on school property were quickly sheltered into safe zones within the buildings.

Next, school leaders began communicating internally to determine if all personnel had been accounted for.  Students, buses, team events (i.e. Middle School track meet), and high school sports practices were contacted and counted. Once the information necessary was gathered, the District began to communicate – via Twitter, Facebook, and then email and phone alerts.

The Saline Area Schools commitment in these situations is clear.  The first priority is, and will always be,  the safety of all students and staff.  When it comes to communication – the priority is to be right, which means we may not be first.  With the availability of texting and social media, bits and pieces of information is shared, tweeted and posted, often long before an official status update is posted by the District.

As with all emergency situations, the District Safety Team will debrief today’s weather emergency. The goal is to continuously improve protocols to ensure the safety and security of the students, staff and community while posting accurate, timely updates as the situation dictates.


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