This has been a terrible tornado year. As law enforcement we are often the first to respond to a tornado event. Are you ready? Make sure you have discussed the proper safety procedures with your wife and kids so they know what to do if there is a tornado in your area. Be sure they have enough emergency supplies to last at least a week without outside help. They should even have enough in their car to last a day, water, clothing and blankets.
The first thing you have to do when you respond to a tornado touch down is to perform an assessment of the extent and nature of the damage. If it is significant, you can’t handle it alone, so you have to call for the assistance you need. With trees down it can be hard to drive around. With live power lines down it can be dangerous to move around. Notify your dispatch center about the extent of the damage, a few homes, blocks or even square miles of devastation can happen.
For a large event coordination of the responding units can be more important than actually physically helping individuals. Accurate information is critical in the early stages. Ideally an aerial survey is best but with high winds, darkness, rain that may not be possible right away. Police and fire stations may be damaged and radio and cell phones may not work.