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RE: Oklahoma Schools unpreparedness?

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I don't have to handle tornadoes hereabouts (leaving my son out of the 
discussion), however, my $0.02 worth.

Designing just for "probability" of strike may be inadequate.  Recent 
(significant) structures should be having risk assessments done.  E.g. 
(vanishingly) small probability but huge impact suggests the structure 
should be designed accordingly anyway ...?  That implies that "safe rooms", 
 as suggested, would definitely be a design conclusion.

Our West Coast (subduction) earthquakes are in that category ... and the 
jury is still out as the extent of design we should attempt so we accept 
the need for damage response :)

Thor A. Tandy P.Eng, C.Eng, Struct.Eng, MIStructE, FEC
Victoria, BC
Email: vicpeng(--nospam--at)
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-----Original Message-----
From: seaint-seaosc(--nospam--at) [mailto:seaint-seaosc(--nospam--at)] On 
Behalf Of Polhemus, William Sent: May-24-13 7:34 AM
To: seaint-seaosc(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: [SEAINT-SEAOSC] Oklahoma Schools unpreparedness?

-----Original Message-----
From: seaint-seaosc(--nospam--at) [mailto:seaint-seaosc(--nospam--at)] On 
Behalf Of Harold Sprague Sent: Friday, May 24, 2013 9:22 AM To: 
seaint-seaosc(--nospam--at) Subject: RE: [SEAINT-SEAOSC] Oklahoma Schools 

I have designed structures to resist weapons and extreme loads of all 
kinds.  A tornado safe room is not that difficult.


Tornado-safe ROOM, absolutely.

Tornado-safe BUILDING, though...?

We're talking about making an entire building sufficient to resist the 
full-force of a tornado direct-strike.

How big a storm do you use (The Moore Tornado was EF-4/5 through most of 
the worst damage)? What is mean by "tornado resistant"? There is a reason 
why after a few decades of research into tornadic winds, we still have not 
been able to agree on any such standards.

The chance of occurrence of the direct strike on the Plaza Towers 
Elementary School in Moore, Oklahoma is vanishingly small.

My point is, trying to criticize those who designed and built the school, 
based on the notion it "should have" survived that event is not reasonable.

Nine children died ostensibly because the roof collapsed, and they were 
trapped in the rubble and drowned because the water (and presumably 
firewater) piping let go and they DROWNED. Perhaps we shouldn't put 
firewater piping in the ceiling?

We can second-guess all we want but it borders on cruel to make such 

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