by Meghan McPherson, MPP, CEM
The Center for Health Innovation and Emergency Management Department sends our deepest sympathies to those affected by thetornadoes in AR, OK, and MO last night. As we type this, another set of tornadoes have touched down in the same general area.
Tornadoes are some of the worst of our natural disasters, as they have little warning and predictability. The current death toll from yesterday’s touchdown sits at 18 souls, a horrible number that may rise as the flattened debris is searched. But in the way tornado situations are observed, that number could have been much, much higher.
The areas impacted had a fighting chance.
It was not a weekday so students weren’t in school and after school activities, their parents weren’t driving home from work to meet them. It was also daylight as the first storms touched down around 5:30 p.m. local time. Finally, the areas that were hit are equipped with warning sirens. These three factors gave citizens a chance to get to their safe rooms or interior room/basement of their house. It did not save everyone, but those small factors helped to save lives.
It is often noted in news reports that we have never seen anything like this in “Tornado Alley.” This is unfortunately the new normal. Stronger and more frequent storms of all types, including predictable ones will continue to target our communities with reckless abandon. Everything that can be done should be done to ensure personal preparedness and community resiliency. By putting those types of measures in place gives you the ability to survive and thrive as communities in the new normal.