WICHITA, Kansas -- It's a sound synonymous with severe weather awareness week.
Tornado sirens rang out for the annual state-wide tornado drill Tuesday.
With the annual drill comes a growing change for schools in USD 259.
"We have to treat a drill like it's the real thing. So while it's not something they practice everyday, they know the expectations, and they also know how to get quiet quickly," says Irving Elementary School principal Larry Perlman.
The days of lining the hallway and covering their heads are over for students at Irving.
"We are fortunate to have a safe room here so we bring our entire school into our safe room at one time, it's about five minutes to bring 500 people in here at one time," explains Perling.
But not every school in the district has this advantage, yet.
Schools that don't already have tornado shelters are in the process of getting them.
The construction site at West High School will be the site of the new fine arts wing starting next year.
It will double as a FEMA shelter giving staff and students a little extra feeling of security during severe weather season.
"The reason it's gonna be safer is our building now, there are over 40 doors and over a thousand windows so in a real emergency you would have all that glass flying around. The rooms being built will meet FEMA standards," says West High School principal Joel Hudson.
The tornado-safe FEMA shelters offer more than protection.
"In addition to that it gives us the option of having all of our students in the same place. There'll be weather radios, flashlights, first aid kit, even restroom facilities are part of the plan so it's definitely gonna increase safety of all our students and our staff," explains Hudson.
Making USD 259 the first district to utilize FEMA shelters in schools.
"In addition to being on the map because we were the first one, I would venture to say we're also going to be on the map for having one in every single attendance center," says the Director of Division Facilities Julie Hedrick.
There are 16 tornado-safe FEMA shelters still to be built at buildings with USD 259.
Now other school districts are using Wichita as a model for incorporating FEMA shelters in their own schools.