1. #1
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    Default Tornado response guidelines/plans????

    Greetings all,

    I'm new to the Firehouse forums and am not sure where to post this question, so here goes.

    Can anyone suggest a website or other location that would give information on emergency response to a tornado event? Or plans your department implements? It is the time of the year when tornados start occurring here in the Midwest and I'd like to gather some information to present to my department.........being pro-active!

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Brad

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    ive been to 2 tornadoes and 1 i had the unfortunate honor of being the IC. I can honestly say it would all depend on how the call came in. ie. subjects trapped or fire or just general destruction. there are way too many factors and what ifs so its up in the air for me . im on 3 departments 1 being fully paid staff and none of the 3 have a natural disaster response SOP.

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    Thanks for the quick response Newbomb.

    Can you suggest any type of pre-event planning or areas that might need to be addressed?......apparatus staging, manpower call-in, communications, extra EMS supplies distributed, ?????

    I'm sure if it happens, it will almost be a free-for-all type of response. The loss of communications seems to be the greatest challenge.

    My department is entirely blind to of any of this, and I'm afraid if someone doesn't address the possibility of a tornado occurring, the chaos will be tenfold if it occurs.


    Thanks,

    Brad

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBLove
    Thanks for the quick response Newbomb.

    Can you suggest any type of pre-event planning or areas that might need to be addressed?......apparatus staging, manpower call-in, communications, extra EMS supplies distributed, ?????

    I'm sure if it happens, it will almost be a free-for-all type of response. The loss of communications seems to be the greatest challenge.

    My department is entirely blind to of any of this, and I'm afraid if someone doesn't address the possibility of a tornado occurring, the chaos will be tenfold if it occurs.


    Thanks,

    Brad
    It will only become a free for all event if allowed to. Unified Command is a must and that starts long before the event building the relationship with the other agencies. Our command post had Fire, Law, EMS and Public works, with a liason to the power company and gas company.

    Communications - Your comment seems to indicate you know you are going to have a loss of communications. If so, now is the time to plan for that as well.

    Also, don't discount the relief agencies - Red Cross and Salvation Army. We had a tornado last August and those two agencies stepped up to the plate and provided wonderful assistance.

    The recovery phase (to me) was far more tedious than the emergency response phase.
    Buckle Up, Slow Down, Arrive Alive
    "Everybody Goes Home"

    IACOJ 2003

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    communications was a huge factor. our damage spread through 3 townships so there was a lot of radio traffic. in a debriefing we decided if there were a "next time" we would actualy have a radio operater come to the scene in the emergency management comms/command van and do relay comms for us and log info and times and special requests all from the scene.my biggest problem was the dept of trans wanting to open the highway where we were operating they showed up with snow plows to push debris. it almost got physical but the state police liason at the command post set them straigt and told them i wanted road closed signs now and we would let them know when they could take them down.a tip for you is call early for help especialy if your a small department you will be overwhelmed.

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    Newbomb's debris comment jogged my brain....

    Debris was a huge issue in regards to accessing the area. i.e: flat tires
    We found it benefical to have the DOT use a plow to clear the roads that had minimal debris. The did so after approval from the IC.

    Once the initial emergency response was over, we then shifted to patrols of the area on ATV's.

    And as said, call for help early, but have a place for them to report and a job for them. If not, stage them.
    Buckle Up, Slow Down, Arrive Alive
    "Everybody Goes Home"

    IACOJ 2003

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    Again, Thanks for the quick replies.

    It seems I've really got my work cut out for me. As a Lieutenant, I am in the thick of things regarding the food chain (chain of command). In past experiences, any positive ideas that were passed up the ranks, was met with either contempt or apathy. If it wasn't "their" idea, it didn't get any attention.

    This is something I know our department and community needs..... a plan. So, this is my personal challenge, to gain information, ideas and post-event analysis in order to present it to those who make the rules. Wish me luck!

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    we also got alot of the community involved right off the bat to bring tractors and bakchoes so we could even get to the damaged areas and assigned incoming mutual aid units specific tasks such as search or secure utilities in heavely damaged structures im better with questions so ask away it helps like mtnfire said to jog memory

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBLove
    Again, Thanks for the quick replies.

    It seems I've really got my work cut out for me. As a Lieutenant, I am in the thick of things regarding the food chain (chain of command). In past experiences, any positive ideas that were passed up the ranks, was met with either contempt or apathy. If it wasn't "their" idea, it didn't get any attention.

    This is something I know our department and community needs..... a plan. So, this is my personal challenge, to gain information, ideas and post-event analysis in order to present it to those who make the rules. Wish me luck!
    You're right in regards to the statement that you need a plan. Check with your local, county, and even state Emergency Management Agencies and see what plans may already exist. If your city doesn't have one, your Local Emergency Planning District should. It'd be a good place to start and would give you something to base yours off of.

    FEMA has some good on-line and self-study training resources for all-hazard planning. Here's a course catalog of some of the courses. I've taken several under the "Professional Development Series."

    To rehash what some have already said, a big obstacle will be communications. I've been involved in a couple of responses, one a fairly large response. Communications were a mess. We had people coming in that couldn't contact IC because of various reasons. I've actually counted up to 5 IC posts that existed due to lack of comms and the inability to make our way through the town to each other.

    Security and coordination was another issue, numerous people showed up "to help." But, we had no idea who was there, where they were, etc. Freelancing was abundant. Once you get a mess going, it takes hours to get everything straightened out and organized. Once we got everything figured out and got it coordinated under one unified command, everything went fairly smooth.

    Just remember, an event like a tornado strike is going to be long and drawn out. Those who arrive on scene first are going to want to run in with "guns a blazin" so to speak, and help. It's hard to get in the mindset of assessing the whole situation, establishing command, triage, transport, search teams, etc. It may take even longer to get all the resources you need, depending on the track of the storm.

    I could go into a lot of "lessons learned" and examples of what we had go wrong, but I think these are the major areas that would prevent a lot of other things going south.

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    Thanks Catch!

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