Tornado School Safety Summit


This year’s School Safety Summit attendees will be official observers of a full-scale rescue, evacuation, and remote reunification exercise as part of a program focusing on tornado, high wind, and severe weather emergencies.

The one-day summit will start at 8:30 am on May 2, 2012, at Pueblos West Elementary School, 386 E. Hahns Peak Ave, Pueblo West, CO 81007, and will showcase new technologies and procedures to improve all-hazards crisis response in schools.

School administrators, first responders, and community leaders are welcome to register for free for the event online at the home page or by phone at 303-548-3816.

The full-scale exercise, involving hundreds of school children and dozens of response teams, was developed by Pueblo School District 70 and local response agencies with funding from FEMA and the U.S. Army.


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Community Partners

As defined in statute, the community partners for this exercise include Pueblo School District 70, the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office, American Red Cross, ACOVA, Colorado Division of Emergency Management, the Pueblo Chemical Depot, local hospitals, and over a half-dozen other first-response agencies in Pueblo County.

Under a grant from the Panasonic 3D Innovation Center, the exercise will be shot for international television in high-definition 3D video, with camera crews embedded at 10 locations.

SchoolSAFE Communications will serve as interoperable communications provider for the event, bridging inexpensive school radios with the high-end radios used by public safety. The company also co-developed with Pueblo School District 70 a new mobile communications unit that allows first responders to speak directly to school staff who must lead an evacuation to a remote location.

Exercise Scenario

As outlined in the exercise scenario, classes resume at Pueblo West Elementary following a period of high wind. School activity is interrupted by a building collapse, trapping the principal and several students and staff members.

The school safety team must initiate the rescue of those trapped, safely evacuate 400 students and staff members to the nearby middle school, transport the students to a final destination 4 miles away, interact with the media, and reunite the students with their families.

Unexpected complications arise throughout the morning as part of the exercise.

Meanwhile, another emergency several miles away will test the community’s surge capacity, the ability to expand crisis response and care capabilities in the face of a community-wide crisis.

There is no cost to attend, and lunch will be served. Register now for the Tornado School Safety Summit on our home page at, or call us at 303-548-3816.

Agenda – May 2, 2012

7:00 am Pre-Event Bonus: Moulage
A behind-the-scenes look at how the actors who will portray the injured in a simulated building collapse are prepared.
7:00 am Exercise Briefing for Responders
Early birds are invited to attend this final planning meeting for the exercise participants and facilitators.
8:30 am Summit Briefing
Introduction to tornado, high wind, and severe weather emergency response. “The First 30 Seconds”
9:00 am Full-Scale Exercise
Escorts will help attendees follow exercise activities at the schools, Emergency Operations Centers, Joint Information Center, and the reunification site. A subject matter expert will be present at each location.
11:30 am After-Action Evaluation
12:30 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Summit Networking Session
Community partners will be on hand to discuss latest advances in interoperable communications and other school safety technologies.
3:00 pm End of Summit

3D Shooting Locations

  1. Desert Sage Elementary: interiors (early morning special effects make-up)
  2. Pueblo West Fire: establishing shot and interiors (early morning briefing)
  3. Pueblo West Elementary: interiors, exteriors (collapse, evacuation, rescue)
  4. Pueblo West Middle: interiors, exteriors (bus evacuation)
  5. En Route: exteriors (mobile communications unit, student bus transportation)
  6. Desert Sage Elementary: exteriors and interiors (arrivals, mid-morning reunification)
  7. Hospitals: establishing shots and interiors (light coverage)
  8. Remote Location: community crisis TBA (light coverage)
  9. Joint Information Center: establishing shot and interiors (light coverage)
  10. Incident Command Post(s): interiors and exteriors (incident command activities)

Recommended Local Hotels

  • La Quinta Inn & Suites Pueblo, 4801 North Elizabeth St, Pueblo, CO 81008, 719-542-3500, and
  • Wingate by Wyndham Pueblo, 4711 North Elizabeth St, Pueblo, CO 81008, 800-337-0077