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Storm damage in Piner, Kentucky on Friday March 2, 2012.
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Storm damage in Piner, Kentucky on Friday March 2, 2012. (Greg Singleton)
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Piner Elementary reflects on deadly storms 1 year later

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PINER, Ky. - "When we came out of the house... it was like apocalyptic," said Piner resident Cindy Hall.

Hall and her son Casey, a third grader at Piner Elementary, were in the path of the deadly storm that struck the Northern Kentucky town on March 2 of last year.

It was a Friday they would never forget.

"It didn't even look like there was going to be a storm it looked like any other day," said Hall.

(View an interactive map of the tornado's path that struck several towns in the Tri-State on March 2, here).

Piner Elementary was the last school in Kenton County to dismiss classes that Friday afternoon. With the school day coming to an end administrators had to think fast.

"That day in particular there was something in the voice of the forecaster that was saying this was really going to be a bad storm and we needed to be on high alert," said Terri Cox-Cruey, superintendent of Kenton County school district.

A school bus is not the safest places to be if a tornado is bearing down, especially if it's filled with precious cargo. That very well could have been the case if it wasn't for some fast-thinking school administrators.

"I called Christi Jefferds, the principal, on the phone and said, 'Christi have you released the buses?' and she said, 'No I have one loaded but have not released it.' And I said, 'Do not release. Do not release. The students need to come off the bus and go into tornado shelters,'" recalled Cox-Cruey.

The students immediately sought refuge in halls and bathrooms away from windows in the lower level of the school.

"I think everything was a little routine for the students the teachers for all of us. We had gone through the drill so everyone knew what to do. There wasn't anyone running around questioning what are we supposed to do there wasn't anybody freaking out," said Jefferds.

A year later the students and teachers at Piner Elementary are still running those monthly fire and tornado drills in the event another dangerous storm strikes the Tri-State.

The students who were there a year ago already know what it's all about and they know how practice pays off.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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