Home>Topics>>chief interview -2-send to alex for web

chief interview -2-send to alex for web

Mon, 18 Jul 2011|

+

Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

And. We heard the job of fire department and we're talking about the events of may 22 money F five tornado. Tore through the city of Joplin. Virtually destroying the center of the city mile wide path fourteen miles long. We can tremendous devastation we've -- fire -- earlier we talked about. The men and women of the job and fire department -- exemplary job they did managing this event and responding in in the tradition of our service with the highest. Levels of dedication passion and integrity. They innovated they were able to overcome. Unbelievable obstacles and and perform their -- admirably. Setting -- bar for the rest of the nation in terms of performance of duty and and and dedication. And we're very fortunate enough to have some times the deputy chief of operations. James Perkins who's been on the job for twenty years now 22 years between two years. And deputy chief of office and how many men and women report and the operations there eighty forums on the department total. To me for so 761. To me. Well. You know one and I know it's painful and -- stupid we'll put it ought to go there but can you walk us through what you would -- where you work. Sunday evening in how it all unfolded for you. Yeah. We had been advised that we had the potential some weather. I -- that. -- prettals going to be attending his his son's graduation so I was trying to keep and I am on the weather in Cornish weather emergency management director. To try to figure so that if I need to erupt in my would. Watch this one little self and it just can't get bigger and bigger than -- started the trek east. -- kept looking more and more ominous as it got close to us and eventually I decided to call him culture for -- and -- you know -- -- need to start about. -- someplace. Because -- wasn't sure what it was gonna do but I didn't like the looks. I also was listening to a VHF radio to try to pick up any chatter that was going on in the area. I started here -- some chatter and then you know basically all over. When we started here a lot of chatter one of the local news stations actually turn their tower cam and pointed due west. Remember distinctly look at in my life and known at the tornado and I'll see you next week and I just took off. Got my stuff -- and headed it. Drove right in into the hardest thing and luckily I was on the north that storm combo went through hail. Rain. -- the wind was incredible. Started to move my car around and I thought well. This this is -- good. That I -- -- -- -- crack and I thought well that's not good. But eventually we got there isn't. When the storm finally let up and I was able to get in here than it was just trying to. Get my head around what amp. I can hear. Chief -- out he was already gone out to -- -- some some survey. And I could hear him you know costly colony that we've got a viable victims here -- -- viable victims there and it just didn't stop. -- literally couldn't get my had a right how big this thing Wallace. It was about 45 minutes after. I had gotten here when we finally got it. Somewhat of a handle what we needed to do and I understood that I have lost two stations. So that the response capability was going to be restricted. And then it was just trying to figure out how to best use of resources we had left and then. From that point. -- -- my clock and he's you've got to you know those -- That was the only marching orders I had -- itself. I went as far south as I could go on main street. Figuring that it's a tornado when I've seen tornado -- before I expectancy roofs downed trees down and things one -- one's. When I got the twentieth and main street and I came across the first building that was collapsed that's when I thought this is a little bit different and -- the farther south I want -- when another four blocks. But it went from just moderate damage to structure there just simply erased and there are no longer there. That's when I realized that did something significant had to edit and again I think my original on -- report. Stated that I was where was this -- others like ago and that I needed help. The most miniscule feeling in the world is to get out of your car. With the radio and turn out here on and -- -- no help Kenyan people walking up to and they want to know what to do and in that was that was tough. We'll try to figure out how to. That serve the folks that had then came my cellar for point two years. The same time not even knowing if all my guys have gotten -- so. That that was gonna. So you're -- it. -- heart of the tornado just about them. -- main street. Kind of kind of right in the middle -- that some models fourteen mile stretch it's kind of cuts right now so you're standing there by yourself. Deploying your your troops or so your biggest concerns and he had several fire. Suppose it did yeah that was the them my major concern was I kept seeing smoke -- in the and it just kept coming from different spots. Wasn't sure how many buildings or debris piles or what every one of the -- home we -- -- But as I start -- call for help there you know obviously you could hear and smell gas you could hear the lines going. And and ultimately one of the things that -- it was a problem was you know the walk and we talked earlier about the fact that. -- you don't expect the tornado to cause water shortages. But when you have taken out 8000 structures and all of them -- -- water home. -- stranger -- so the challenge was we had limited water. To fight the buildings -- fire. Since they were scattered out everywhere -- literally the debris -- only to -- five feet -- -- the most. My concern was how far does this go in if -- lose it how far is -- going to go before I can get in front of. As the debris was all interconnected almost almost like it. It's almost like a giant lumber -- -- on the ground yet. That won't. If people think back to the pictures that we've seen and we -- put some pictures into the interviews token idea what you're talking about so. Your concern was a fire could really. -- -- conflagration. Yeah I was you know -- -- analysts was concerned about where I was gonna have the ability to stop this. Because I've got people that I and I know I've got people in these books. Am I going to be able to get to whom you know are the guys going to be able to get there and do what is necessary before the fire gets. You know that that. That was horrifying nameless in the fact that they survived the tornado and we're gonna lose -- and -- -- correct. Didn't want that happened so it was trying to Marshal whatever resources I can get. -- our grid and off and. I think that's a really important point to get across to people and I never thought about it and all of us. Members of preparedness classes I've taken for earthquakes and floods and tornadoes. We've -- -- to EMI and the other schools. -- never recall hearing -- -- -- talk about the fact that. If you eliminate a significant amount of structures. So small water lines although small water lines end up being a significant. Treatment systems so you you had basically what you had in your tank to fight. Rice fires could enter your -- systems depleted yes it's it's down. Trying to. Fight the fires off -- tank water. The major challenge was to try to keep it into the pile that it started it or you know what's left of the residents. And then trying to be able to get additional trucks. -- -- -- -- that was a problem because. All the trees downed limbs and debris everywhere was how many trucks -- we actually get -- there. Then obviously then you start looking for heavy equipment in and how are you gonna get -- heavy equipment. You know I know that there were times when you -- -- would -- offer for heavy equipment. And somebody which -- skid steer. -- speakers every big button. The guys that reason that night. They were some wizards when it came two having the ability to clear streets. It got to a point where we had. I would assign -- units to go in the treatment equipment with them. To help clear the way it forensic tests thinking get past it wasn't just the you know wasn't just the trees in the house is it was the cars. Did that we're just picked up we had cars on top of buildings we Carson -- -- we have people in the cars. In and trying to best utilize the resources you can GAAP how many sets of jaws. How many different. Teams that we. That was an issue all by itself. Was trying to coordinate all the all the folks that -- -- it. So you you had a really great relationship with your surrounding communities in. Years ago you guys for four major music come together and divide it up call kind of the super plan can explain a little bit. Well back you know and the post 9/11 world when state of Missouri got into the Homeland Security. Response team business and there were four. Major players in in region. The city Joplin city Springfield. Branson -- -- county. And then -- -- -- fire protection district and each one of us had decided that while we -- had the same base capacity for Hansen it. Each one of -- wanted to develop a specialty. Presenting counting wanted to go after the the mass casualty. Response capability -- -- -- -- them up here. And in that capacity. Rogers bill will -- -- -- wanted to go after the pure -- aspect of it Springfield wanted to though there EUD capabilities. And then we wanted to focus was was heavy rescue having the ability in in ironically enough we all plan and we were gonna have to go to France and some point in time as we thought. Didn't work out that way they -- -- us. But what we did was we didn't fight over the money. We each simply went ahead and -- an area that we thought we could specialize in. That wouldn't interfere with the other -- And that the idea was we would all come together. If if the need ever rose. So when you're sitting -- your. Car that evening -- -- that your friends from brand source -- and they were gonna do help you with -- Earlier in our conversation we should probably. Let folks know that. You and the -- were out here crews were recovering a lot of the -- And basically news identify whether war leaving them there so the Branson team's job was probably to come and and then starts setting up the temporary morgues and. The dagger immunity they came rolling in with the disaster medical assistance team he met. They are large component of misery he met. We want -- -- for for that they were probably more in tune with. The the EMS folks. And again and you sprinkle with him and they've got heavy rescue equipment as well. I knew they were common. The guys from from northwest Arkansas in the northeast Oklahoma or absolutely wonderful to deal with they and they came. Run and in a minute's notice folks. Yeah Rogers yeah. We've we've got -- -- we've had a little cross border communication with them. And because part of -- the Wal-Mart enterprises on the Missouri side so from Homeland Security standpoint we had some responsibility for. But they. They were wonderful work with came in just -- right into the management system that we established and at and -- single issue. So how does a guy you hear the ops chief -- your family was okay oh -- And your your property was -- a little more from so didn't have this English so it. You -- your family was safe so now you've got. -- -- -- -- Torn -- and you've got. Members affected. Their lease the properties and effective and you've got all your all his work and people come -- and what did you do -- -- you did you manage that influx -- we got here Monday morning it was it was just what we would save. Now that the expression is it was -- and almost everybody was -- his work. As we stand around looking for what to do everybody was work so if you. Had had it patent that elephant what did you have to -- it. Again you know you peel a woman -- a time. And it probably took us between four and six hours to get a real good handle on what was going on. That's the one thing they leave out any instrument for classes the timeline and how it's gonna play out. You know you're taught at -- I -- 400 how to -- would volunteers OK and he too. This was happening big one actually. 45 minutes -- coming in it's it is about four. To six hours to get the USC up established where we can start capturing the resources. Setting upstaging here's -- -- do an end as -- as we could. It didn't make -- -- -- the stage because everybody was needed. So it wasn't until 46 hour later that we started to get the staging areas set up where we could catch them tell you know -- -- -- was underway in. This is where we need you go. And then from -- -- will it hadn't been -- out from there. That is. Once we got to that point everything gonna -- them. And -- it worked a whole lot smoother than we -- able to keep track of folks we knew where they were. We had a rough idea how many we had I know that on the second day we -- 750 people through. Our check in in cinema in the field. The second night. And we were doing around the clock operations and second night we had a pretty big -- and we handsome some strong storms coming in. We -- -- some issues with lightning. Some of the folks ski trip we lost a police officer. From Riverside. Because of that. So obviously at that point you know everything has to stop. That's a hard decision makes a look at it 200 plus people that wanna get out there and help Intel -- -- can't send you out there because -- or. More values valuable to me alive then then you know if you're dead in your part of the problem -- solution. So we. I had to stop. And had to wait until the weather clears. When the weather cleared it made a phone call them Springfield my counterpart. And -- fire department -- Pennington. Wasn't absolute gentleman got to work with -- -- -- callebs and David this is -- I've -- -- -- help. And drop what he's doing drove up here when he got here. Came walking and I -- a 197 people -- and this is the task -- sick and I am from Wallace and yet he's okay. Three hours later he's back in my you know -- -- by 3 o'clock in the morning so we got that -- -- my suggestion is is that we wait until morning and then we'll regroup and then they just keep. At that point he gave us an appropriate that we got in the initial tasks done thought we'd gotten as many of the surface folks that we could and then we can -- more. Thorough plan. Well a lot of the folks that came generally help with that surface I think that she's been a great common over lunch -- -- Your wife asked you when you're training for that easy and in your response was. Yeah I I had you know received training but the funny part about it is is I don't think -- used anything more than -- -- 200 in the news in the initial responses. It's all single company operations that's all it is -- everything Wheeler who they want -- from. -- everything from day one you'd you know the bigger the -- I think the more simplistic the the planning has to be because you know you can make a really great plan. That is it is not executables. Or you can make a pretty good plan that you can execute and then tweak on the fly. And that's what we had to do -- -- making this up as we went along. So you would like every city -- identified your target hazards in your areas of concern and unfortunately for use several of them. That the nursing home in the hospital where we're. Or head. So. Talk a little bit about how you prioritized because at some point you started to. -- -- resources more heavily one. -- My plan in I was only one of of four different operational post that was out there. When I got to where it was sad that as far as how I was -- to try to develop and deploy the resources. That the first -- and -- came up to me. Don't forget to see so what you wouldn't want done so had -- appointed west and a single that. Beneath it would have me do it to -- figured out. Nice to go just start scout and the whole point was I wanted to get some some recount there is -- still didn't have any idea of existing ones. I gotta get him out there to start telling me -- gonna need resources. Unfortunately my scout team got stuck when they ran into the nursing home. They have multiple. Their multiple deceased we also had lots of folks that were in -- that we can get out. That one of becoming one of the resource plunges that I kept calling on the over resource funds is there any time I got resources available and ask -- -- -- need -- help. And who -- it yet. So -- camps and an amount the more resources that showed up to more than I would send over. We had 35 or forty people taken. Throughout the course of the -- just trying to recover. Can't imagine. I saw them building and you can imagine that anybody. Survived and that this is just amazing. You know is off to the question we ask the fire service. -- -- that survivable you know what now what political rescue profile after profile and you pulled. Dozens of folks out of that nursing home alive. But from the Hilltop where mark and I went. Looking down -- -- from a that is in John's church so the same -- Saint Mary's from Saint Mary's church. You wouldn't think anybody can know. Just a miracle that anyone can go in and did it was. You're crews were still on it. 10 o'clock the next -- still going through you know him because they. Through descriptions that that you get from what you and your man. It's not a collapse. It's not a collapse in the traditional sense of a -- -- -- -- I know. Collapse rescue went -- it to do voice searches and things like that you understand it well maybe we're gonna lean to repair the holes and a pancake -- this was. This was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich I mean it was just smeared is the way it -- that was the best way to describe it was everything was just -- The debris was just scattered in his smeared out. So there were traditional voice I mean we were looking of the guys were looking in between. And around the home beds in bed frames and cars just trying to figure out where. You know where folks could be. And learn new construction was. Ran the gamut -- -- you had type one from the hospital right there all the way don't. -- homes were built in the thirties and forties right and everything in between fast food restaurants. You had everything under the sun -- to deal with. -- you talked about you know is first target -- -- you you you can deal with. One target hazard but when you're in an area -- all of your target hazards have been hit home. How do you prioritize that night it realistically one of becoming a first come first -- kind of thing -- it wasn't that that was what we plan to do. That's just how it worked out. -- the crews walk out they would go until they ran into something that would stop -- immune from a management standpoint you've got to keep pushing. Beyond that I've got to keep pushing more resources -- past -- because a lot of area. That needs to be done. But in the it was just simply -- on the it was -- some more. Technical -- Grid search in this just garden and in drawn squares and trying to tell people how to get to wear their -- So. You had your you all your folks obviously were working from the -- -- until. So basically couldn't work any longer. Will we are operational periods like -- -- -- -- Well there for the for probably the first three days it was that was one operational period I mean from the incident management standpoint we were going and twelve are operational sections. But realistically. You know the folks had that were out there were out there we would try to bring them back -- about 7 o'clock. And then treat him. And the biggest mistake I made out of the whole event was not trying to get into some type of rotation with our folks. I waited probably a day or so longer than initiative. To put my 36 hour rotation where -- can get some sense of of normalcy back. But you know that that's that's. Hindsight that it it and you do want things that I think -- important is that your folks know the town. They know which houses and basements -- public schools you know than they knew. And that that. Insider knowledge is almost impossible if you can you can bring all the well intentioned folks -- want from around the area no one. Chief during what she said you we're told somebody. It's a -- the -- obvious fiscal. They only know that if you -- -- you know you're Joplin. Just -- you know whatever. -- that what I realize what they use Java and they are Joplin died so that's understandable way you know it and everybody. It was it was the right decision at that time it worked out well so I would I would say I don't think it was a mistake it may seem like you -- -- a little hard but I don't think could have gotten. Well -- have yet that was the issue was was -- would tell want to go lay down and they would all look at you you know to a person saying on got things to do. The most striking thing is it. Arm trying to get one of them the station to cruise they were there the first station -- got destroyed just geographically. They get it before afforded. But they wouldn't leave until they had dug their truck. Up they refused to leave until they got the engine. Out of and that's -- -- Bill Gates says it's a crew member absolutely they were being on the -- -- leave anybody behind. And they. They wouldn't laid out like I kept trying to get him to lay down but you couldn't and it wasn't just you know it wasn't just target as it was everybody that -- it. You would try to get them to to take a rest break in they just wouldn't do they have things to do. Now I know there was a lot of this this. Regional teams yours yours that -- four. Primary partners all showed up fairly quickly a lot of regional fire departments -- and and you -- Missouri task force one did. Because they're fairly close behind -- and they were here within about sixteen -- zone and set up so you had some some good support. Tell us about. How it it progressed from there are no words -- you know you know you've got to fourteen mile swathe that's a half mile wide. How to how to go from there what was it always what was that things that you were your proudest of them and because it was -- really exemplary deployment really what is. Probably the thing that -- you know most proud of was the fact that we -- able to get a handle. You know just what was going. In being able to bring in resources and I know there are a couple of times that that I apologize to task force one in -- The Saint Louis county folks when they came and when they call means that they -- an hour out and they had 120 folks and sixty some vehicles. Okay from staging standpoint where you put 64 vehicles you know in accountants are have to strike that that was comical actually. You know slick talk like mortar round went way too tired for this. But. You know being able to bring these guys in and again -- apologize because I felt like I was asking them underneath with the capabilities were. Especially task force one you know -- you know this is the big FEMA team goes to these big heavy buildings and destroyed -- We haven't had he believes that were destroyed what we were you know other than than home people and and Wal-Mart. Com but the destruction -- there was so catastrophic that you know -- I wasn't sure they were going to be able to be used to. The ability that they felt that they were -- Capable. But the ability to bring in all these different resources from all across the country because it just kept getting farther and -- our special reason dog teams. And in the transition from you know -- sent. Dogs that are designed to -- -- folks to the cadaver dogs. We were bringing in dogs from Tennessee Indiana. Texas you know these are all part of the FEMA task force is -- the premium river near -- and for you know over a week. We managed to get. When you look at the damage path -- -- capable of going back and forth. Seven Times Square in congress we went from one end to the other turnaround started and came back the other way. That was a huge. Huge accomplishment and and we had been through every inch of the damage path. At least six times so it can at least six times blown over the course of the and the days following. And then throw presidential visit in there and every other visiting you can carry one to come -- and take a look. That was that was foremost -- of. Now what would you recommend. I know you're doing it here -- would you recommend other cities midwestern cities are prone to floods fires. Tornadoes. And acknowledge the fact that can happen. You know we've. Since 2003 we've had three tornadoes come through the area 2003 we have wanna -- -- was an F three. Them CF for the went through pitcher and then. Through middle Newton county and then this one you have to acknowledge the fact that it can happen here and then it. You know the planning process. You actually have to pay attention. Make contacts. Get past -- you know -- of petty arguments as far as territorial -- and understand everybody's going to be. Committed in everybody's going to be work it you have one common goal and that is to provide the service to the folks -- pay your page. You have to you understand in plan for that and know that it can't happen. Now would you recommend one of the things that I was talking to some -- -- It's -- -- apparently said that brought their packs with them. Innocent you know that's a great. Piece of tradition that's mid western tradition. Is that midwestern firefighters. Always have a -- in -- map pack you've got. Water Snickers bars -- in -- Whatever you would need to keep you go -- for 72 dollars and it's just your pack and you take with you everywhere you go as tickets -- campers thing it's -- -- thing it's. You get a -- -- woods I count but -- -- fine you've got three days' worth of water food. Do you recommend that for. All -- you know the funny part about -- is is knowing that the task forces that were coming in would be operating with that you know that mindset. I didn't really think about -- them -- out. I figured that they would basically make camp and that they would be fine and I had a couple of days to worry about that. I was more concerned about oh well here's -- were common in all of the folks it will go to Virginia showed up and flip flops -- advocates off. And there -- some spooky folks who showed up by the way. They're pressuring other clubs and stuff that's a good -- that's a good visual right there go back and look at the foot unified and they are out there. But I wasn't worried about it so that we. When somebody else's it made arrangements to to bed down all the responders and the good thing was -- so manages. To classes -- over. The dorms were were -- and empty. -- -- open their their doors normal and we bought them all out there. Which was now completely. Ahead of my time I was just completely floored when -- actually thought that through well you know because I knew that the folks coming in would be self sustained. They would be able to care -- for a couple of days and I had a limited time try to figure out where we're -- When you think the experience that you went through using skid -- you know really you know that we were. We -- the -- from. It was the owner's truck -- as lab guys. Oh past flop there of the tree service room in the initial interest was. And then you realize how critical those guys are -- -- -- because who else can do that as as quickly and effectively as those -- because that's what they do that's that. That's in the air -- primary mission. You know we fight fire them with these guys and they're all over the place -- -- they were here and it just. When you think about the relationships that you need to establish today. Not on Monday morning right that you they -- they want -- you could tell they -- all in place here -- Joplin Sunday night before this ever happened. I think the 11 response agency that gets overlooked because I had this conversation -- public works director. When he pointed out to me that they were every bit as much part of the first response is anybody else was. And it wasn't until we -- that conversation I thought about when you know you're absolutely right. Don't want without the front middle -- throughout the back those have been without the other heavy equipment we can't do anything you're going to -- him. -- -- you know that's that is an invaluable relationship they have used to you you know have. The ability to sit and talk to you you know your public works folks and talk to intelligently. And in with the respect it's -- -- to -- them. Because without them there's not much you can do -- a big shiny fire truck -- only goes so far it to you. The U -- 200 year old old oak tree. It's not gonna get. And you can't push it now the chrome and gold leaf is -- gonna make you go it's not intimidate and. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Just interest thing -- just very interest because they don't have that got the cut that them in the -- it -- got that three foot blade on that. We'll treat -- you and knows how to use this is gonna get through that thing what we'll watch it more just thoroughly -- -- Guys remove entries -- as fast as you -- I would a couple car and drag it out -- -- they were they were going great guns hand. They -- that we had the streets open our public works crew and all the help they -- were phenomenal we -- the streets virtually open where we could pass through. Almost all of them and inside of two days. Where we can actually get up and industries and -- -- include. -- you have an opportunity to rebuild two stations. Are you planning on building station's six also. So. How does this devastation affect -- -- Mindset going into that so that's -- all. -- that landscapes and looked somewhat different. But it is gonna come back but it's gonna look up. Right. It's going to be significantly different I the first question we have to ask yourself is that. Station two was built in in 1982. -- twenties. And 27 years. He -- too but it was open. It opened on May 23. Of 1982. Also was open you know that many years and -- day. The problem is is that what is the demographics of the city look like. Are the stations in the right place is this an opportunity for us. Q go back that a -- -- and say okay do we want to put him here. We having a singularly unique opportunity. With the landscape being re -- to maybe correct some of the mistakes. The past you know not anything that was overtly done it's just that you know you can only look at -- crystal ball in in pretend you know where things are gonna go. But neither you nor I know what's gonna happen in twenty years you do the best you can in this is you know he's -- -- best educated guess. Do we have the ability to go back and maybe. Move the station justice someplace or perhaps we can get better coverage. I ideally would like Paul put the stations where that they don't line up with -- each other they'll recognize -- torpedo coasters are Olazabal. Here you can deal once stationed down -- that that she trails -- I had this conversation I can deal with losing one. From response capability response -- standpoint -- losing to absolutely through a huge wrinkling or doing. Well it in its its passing Israeli moratorium on building if so there is getting things cleared up. Do you foresee them re zoning or creating. They're doing something else creative with that because I don't know how this works we if you get your house destroyed. And you mortgage company occasional off -- you still own the land or is it. You know understood they stole -- -- -- yet so -- still owns the land. That. They're required to rebuild there or Pakistan going to and I. I don't know I know that. With woods -- his house when it was destroyed. You know he's already looked to go elsewhere he's gonna move. But he still owns that plot still owns -- -- -- matter what you want to do I mean there are some folks that are in -- that are. You've got the rumors that there are speculators -- down you know -- up pieces of -- heartland by ample and you know is it gonna look different yet -- -- significantly different from from a zoning standpoint -- it. Really see them doing anything different. It was the majority of it was owned is is. Residential what was residential probably stay that way what was commercial stay that way obviously everything -- -- all the stuff of our own people and and Wal-Mart com those things will remain commercial. And hopefully we can get them back this this department lives and dies based on the sales tax. So when you lose all Wal-Mart today. Puts up -- volume that story fifties treated. That's -- huge hit for the local economy. So when -- your resources like the fifth largest producer and Wal-Mart continues to it was in -- top ten always. So. You know that's that's a lot revenue that we're -- That the plan for them the problem there is this if -- based off the sales tax. And looking worse case scenario how long can we sustain the level. Capability we had. Hopefully and everything comes back you know the Wal-Mart -- -- -- -- have decided they wanted to be opened by November. And I firmly believe that they will be open by November. There -- -- go -- well Walgreens we lost a Walgreens that point range land right now part of right in front of on people. That he came in salvaged what they could cleared off and it's almost -- done I mean really they're almost done yeah. -- hope people not the -- people Walgreens -- its front right right right we saw that its its all but rebuilt. So that he came in and they cleared that -- off and just started throw blocked them. So from an operations standpoint. You're the man. What what are you gonna build into the system going forward noisy you -- to -- everybody had to cruise hunkered down what you gonna do operationally. Just based upon tornado preparedness for a fellow. And I guess and it's no longer tornado Alley. Because while I was in Boston two or three weeks ago to telescope leveled by an -- for. We watched. I was I was a credible and then did they blamed me -- -- you're the guy from Oklahoma just flew into -- -- you. -- you know when I heard tornado I thought. You know maybe small -- It. Devastated him. Which you built into your plans. That -- learned from this experience. Obviously the for the first thing we're gonna do is -- safe rooms and everything. That was one of the challenges with where we put. You know obviously trying to find the interior room and all that and while it worked. Some -- -- it brought pictures back we're taking pictures looking straight up moved through the roof. That was disquieting. To realize that we got that close so we're gonna put safe rooms and everything. Try to you know fortified buildings as best we can of them we -- female engineers commend. To look at the disaster. Area and then look at the collapses to try to figure out -- yes that you will not currently pills and now if we can put a storm shelter that is capable of sustaining war surviving you know an -- five that. Know that that's going to be. -- plus. I was I was a -- holes and we -- one -- my home. We sort that if you're the closer you get to grade the better that we put arsenic in ground -- -- -- So we you know that's for RC from prison and sorrow. And that's we were told to -- One of the challenges that we we came across this is when those things to think about about 3 o'clock in the morning when you're sitting in the OC. Is all the folks that have those below grade. Storm shelters that are now underneath all bravery how -- -- it. And we've done a good enough job and will the dogs pick up an effect because -- are. Eight feet below the progress and you've got all -- house -- topic. Luckily we didn't find anybody in in a subterranean vault so that that was applause. But it is far astronomy the stations as -- as we can't. They tell you real port a potty yeah well my wife and I have -- -- is -- -- there you know that's -- -- -- -- That's a romantic it's working for us. Yeah I can -- we well and it -- some dry goods that honestly can you crackers and such. -- One you know an -- -- and it is almost -- The guys that workstation for you know for a fact after the tornado passed and they stood and watched him as much -- -- could. When he realized at all trucks were were destroyed. They literally were tunneling underneath the debris to get to the trucks to -- able to -- in Apple's been using using -- They got as many new tools they can do it and then ran outside and got -- -- vehicle wasn't damaged or destroyed. And then -- responded. In his appeal. The same thing in the guys to. Because there was nothing they -- use it couldn't physically -- stations. That's -- Realizes that we spent probably the first hour of the response with -- -- who's stationed in the next. Because of the huge influx of calls coming in -- -- are desperate for completely well. We utilized some guys from station one try to help sort through so we could try to get ahead of it. -- if -- Hillary I think we can intelligently Warner's ultimate direction. So we had. You know that the first 45 hour until the guys to work out. Anybody people out there you know with the trucks we have built an expert -- electrically variable. Formulate better response. Go to some stuff it was heartening to hear you talk about -- -- losses. People say that I hate this expressionless. Two years of tradition -- I think it's I think it's 200 years of progress enhanced by tradition. Because if you look at what you were doing with the street markings that's what they -- hurt. The signs are gone. Which is still have to know especially given directions the -- town. What a -- of walk don't walk is right so you market on the corner this is 23 street -- You know Indiana street so you know you know people can look at a standard -- happens they write the story -- it's all great to do -- you know longitude latitude. But not a race Karen and a GPS. But you know you can send people to a quarter of this that they know are on 23 street -- gone and so it's no half mile -- you'll find Indiana street start there and it gonna got a lot more mysteries I was really did because we saw. We were there must sixteen hours after fourteen hours after certainly -- -- work that -- -- men and women accomplished. In a few short hours of daylight. And over that first evening and you -- -- fourteen mile long. Trail of devastation. Their primary search -- -- -- rescue. With basically you know unwritten when you're very people you had. From the community right that some things. It was it was a herculean effort is what it amounted to. The folks that there were. No I can't say enough about it speaks volumes but the character of the for the people who work here. Did you know we never turn around whenever ran away and you know we had a job to do yeah. Not one complaint no I haven't heard one -- -- cool person say. And with a fire service laid out. Is he in the room I hate him independents that he's gone always you know none of that and -- this is. Fit. The work ethic. Not a -- you got on the way you handled. Humbling I use it -- you know all the credit goes to them to the folks who work here and now the good guys that are here. That responded. To any comeback every -- we haven't had anybody walk away and say okay I can't deal with us -- -- The leadership and I would I would credit the leadership here too and I think there's been you know we just -- -- yourself and the other guys. It was tickled Swiss army -- the -- business office is set suicidal office. And not just very the upper Echelon but that the leadership of the company -- -- Leadership and it. And the community that. That the church leaders the city manager and it was a real sense of public service here again and you can see it. I've lived here long enough to need to know that. Did these folks are gonna be taken out -- -- and you know the the funny part is we you know we had people coming in from all over to you as a retired from F -- why. That. -- working for red cross and they said they couldn't give anything away. If they would drive down the street and they couldn't even anyway because everybody would look at it but I'm fine go talk -- -- tax -- you would have. Unions have you -- as the ups -- what those -- when you right now -- will be the best thing that firefighters are listening right now. Well what do you what what are you guys need to your fellow firefighters could do for them. I I think that don't have the biggest thing we've had such an outpouring of support. Were good -- tools were and -- you know we're we're doing okay there. -- the biggest challenges that I've got to get these guys out of we've got station to station for an RVs. That don't work when when it gets really high I've got to get him in the temporary stations and then move forward and get permanent stations. But you know as far as equipment and pin and things like that -- we're doing okay I think we're going to be fine. Because -- -- -- this -- -- -- lecture just say a prayer and make sure that that you know you keep this in our thoughts and -- Because it's a long road well. Fires here and we'll you need anything let us know put it out. Appreciate it will help anyway we can. And and again thank you for taking time -- -- of us and I got much better things to do try to get your. Human relocated and take your recipient. -- you take the time this afternoon to spend with us and we really wanted to get your story out so people can hear. -- -- tremendous job you did and and yourself and all of -- fire department and police departments -- -- public works department in the city manager it was a team effort just holding the whole community. Just an amazing deal -- do what we were out there. -- we saw folks walking off with their gloves in their hands and how can -- help -- And it from the -- and and they weren't. Fool -- they wanna come to war front one and it just we could be as Americans we couldn't be prouder. The fact that job from the heartland of America still -- And in Europe that -- the primary example of that -- that big. Broad shouldered will getter done. Check on the next deals now. Chief Jim Perkins good to have thanks for everybody in America -- Arafat for Friday and thank you for what you do it and if there's anything that we can do -- please let us know -- -- -- I had.

Related Videos:

  1. Heavy Vehicle Extrication: Cab Components

    Battalion Chief Steve White and Lieutenant Eric Mohr of the Fishers Township (IN) Fire Department discuss the components of a big rig cab. Identifying these components can help rescuers when it comes time to making decisions vehicle during extrication operations.

  2. Vehicle Fires: Assessment and Response

    Larry Holloman, retired battalion chief from Winston-Salem (NC) Fire Department , discusses response to vehicle fires.

  3. Week in Review: April 6, 2009

    Fire Engineering Editor in Chief Bobby Halton discusses the major stories of the week, including a report on fire department finances that caused an outcry in Boston and Columbus, Ohio.