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September 3, 2013

Take cover

Rotarians schooled on ‘Cover our kids’ campaign

DUNCAN — The Cover Our Kids campaign is underway with hopes to raise enough money to provide helmets and blankets for all Duncan students in case of a tornado.

During a recent Duncan Rotary meeting, Patty Wininger talked about the campaign, which is already starting to raise money. Wininger said the goal is to ensure all students will be protected if a tornado were to touch down in Duncan.

“We’re in tornado alley,” she said. “We all know about Moore.”

She said the campaign is about making things safer for Duncan students. She said the helmets will protect their heads, and the blankets will help reduce other injuries.

The idea is to supply every classroom at every Duncan school with a supply of helmets and blankets. She said the school district has already taken some precautions, but the Cover Our Kids campaign will help better protect all students.

“Most of the schools have safe rooms,” Wininger said. “All classrooms have emergency backpacks and student lists. All they need are helmets and something to wrap up in.”

She said one idea was to have parents purchase the helmets and blankets. But there were concerns about people wanting their children to bring home the helmets or people not being able to afford them, especially if they have multiple children.

She said it would cost about $25 per child and about $500 per classroom to ensure everyone has a helmet and a blanket. She said additional helmets and blankets will need to be purchased for teachers, support staff and visitors.

The helmets would be skateboard helmets because they come down farther in back and would provide better protection of the brain stem, Wininger said.

“We’re trying to lessen and mitigate the injuries,” she said. “I can’t think of a more worthwhile program.”

She said the school district and people on the Cover Our Kids committee hope to have all helmets and blankets in place by February 2014 so they can start practicing tornado drills in March 2014.

Wininger said this is a program for all Duncan students, and the idea is to make sure there is enough money to buy helmets accordingly.

“It will take an initiative from everyone,” she said.

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