Home>Topics>>After the Tornado: Interview with Joplin (MO) Deputy Chief James Perkins

After the Tornado: Interview with Joplin (MO) Deputy Chief James Perkins

Mon, 1 Aug 2011|

Chief Bobby Halton talks to Joplin (MO) Deputy Chief James Perkins about the devastating tornado that struck the city in May 2011 and the fire response to the event.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

And. We -- 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 -- an exemplary job they did managing this event and responding to him 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 -- -- 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. 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 do where you work. Sunday evening when and how it all unfolded for you. Yeah. We had been advised that we had the potential some weather. My -- that it. -- 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 cells and it just came into bigger and bigger than -- started the trek east. Images kept looking more and more ominous as it got close to us and eventually I decided to call him faculty rails gentlemen you know -- need to start about. Getting -- -- -- Because I 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 -- started here -- some chatter and then you know basically all hell broke lose. 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 my wife -- known at the tornado and I'll see you next week and I just took off. Got -- stuff -- -- and headed it. Drove right in into the heart of this thing and luckily I was on the north that storm combo went through pale. -- -- the wind was incredible. Started to move my car around and I thought well. This this is good. That I -- -- when -- 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. And literally couldn't get my head right how big this thing Wallace. It was about 45 minutes after. I had gotten here when we finally got it. Somewhat of -- handle -- what we needed to do and I understood that I had 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 have left and then. From that point. She -- my clock and he's you've got to you know those -- That was the only marching orders I had was -- -- I went as far south as I could go on main street. Figuring that it's a tornado when I've seen tornado damage before I expectancy roofs downed trees down and 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 in the in the farther south I want island -- another four blocks. But it went from just moderate damage to structure there just simply erased they're no longer there. That's when I realized that did something significant had and -- and again I think my original on -- report. Stated that that was where it was in his -- 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 and -- -- no help Kenyan people walking up to. And then 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 that been paying my seller for point two years. The same time not even knowing if all my guys have gotten -- so. Net that was gonna. So -- about it. The heart of the tornado just. Your 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 that kept seen smoke -- in and it just kept coming from different spots. Wasn't sure how many buildings or debris piles or what every one of the call home we had -- 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 that was a problem was you know the -- when -- 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. It stranger -- so the challenge was we had limited water. To fight the buildings around fire. Since they were scattered out everywhere -- literally the debris -- only to retreat five feet tall -- the most. My concern was offers -- go in the -- loses how far is that going to go before I can get in front of it. As real as all interconnected almost almost like it. It's almost like a giant lumber yards on the ground yes that -- If people think back to the pictures that we've seen and we. I put some pictures into the interviews -- an idea what you're talking about so. Your concern was a fire could really. -- -- conflagration. Yeah I was you know again -- was was concerned about where it was gonna have the ability to stop this. Because I've got people that I and I know I've got people in these buildings. 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 name was the fact that they've survived the tornado and we're gonna lose their fire. Didn't want that happened so it was trying to Marshal whatever resources it can get. -- you start grid and off. And I think that's a really important point to get across to people and I never thought about it all of us. Members of preparedness classes I've taken for earthquakes and floods and tornadoes. We've -- -- to EMI and the other schools. I 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. Trained in the system so you you had basically what you had in your tank to fight. Rice fires could enter your hybrid systems depleted yet 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 and -- and there are some. That was a problem because. All the trees downed limbs and debris everywhere was how many trucks -- we actually get him. 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 -- Good speakers every big button. The guys that reason that night. They were some wizards when it came to having the ability to clear streets. It got to a point where we head I would assign out. -- to go -- in treatment equipment with them. To help clear the way race it get us 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 there and we had -- on top of buildings we Carson -- cars 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 -- economy. So you that you had of really great relationship with your surrounding communities in. Years ago you guys for four major music come together and divide it up because kind of the super plan can explain a little bit. Well back you know and the post 9/11 world when the 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 all had the same base capacity for Hansen it. Each one of -- wanted to develop a specialty. Princeton -- counting wanted to go after the the mass casualty. Responsibly which we -- -- them up here. And in that capacity. -- will look -- -- wanted to go after the pure has -- aspect of it -- one of the 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 at some point and -- we thought. Didn't work out that way they want to come and us com. But what we did was we didn't fight over the money. We -- simply went ahead and pick 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 in your car that evening news that your friends from -- -- -- And -- we're gonna do help you with and and earlier in our conversation we should probably. Let folks know that. You and the -- were out here crews were recovering a lot of -- -- and 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 and you know they they came rolling in with the disaster medical assistance team He met. They are large component of misery He met. We -- -- -- -- for for that they were probably more in tune with. The the EMS folks. And again and you -- -- -- and they've got heavy rescue equipment as well. I knew they were common. The guys from from northwest Arkansas in the northeast Oklahoma. -- absolutely wonderful -- deal with they and they came. Run and in a minute's notice folks. Yeah Rogers and we've we've -- -- -- who 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 yeah. And your your property is yes a little more -- so didn't have this English so it. You -- your -- safe so now you've got. You you're you're -- been. Torn -- -- and you've got. Members affected. Their lease the properties that are affected and you've got all your all -- work and people come and and what did you do attitude how did you manage that influx -- we got here Monday morning it was it was just what we would say. It expressionism possesses almost everybody was -- his work. It was and we stand around looking for what to do everybody was -- so if you. Had had it patent that elephant what did you have to -- it. Again you know you peel a woman -- a time in 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 -- -- I -- this 400 how to He would volunteers okay and -- too. This was happening big one actually. 45 minutes -- -- 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 years -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 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 -- go. And then from the USC when where and and ask you -- from there. That is. Once we got to that point everything -- -- them. And -- it worked a whole lot smoother -- 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 and -- in the field. The second night. And we were doing around the clock operations and second night we had a pretty big -- -- we have some some strong storms -- -- and we -- and some issues with lightning. Some of the folks -- 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 knowing -- -- -- out there because you or. More -- 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 it. And had to wait until the weather clears. When weather cleared it made a phone call them Springfield my counterpart down and -- fire department and Pennington. Wasn't absolute gentleman got to work with -- -- -- -- and David this is -- I've got needs and help. And drop what he's doing drove up here when He got here. Came walking hand -- a 197 people four and this is the task -- sick and I am from Wallace and yet he's okay. Three hours later respect in my you know ceases -- -- about 3 o'clock in the morning so we got that clear. Vincent my suggestion is is that we wait until morning and they'll regroup and then they just keep. At that point He gave us an appropriate that we got the initial task done thought we'd gotten as many of the surface. Folks that we could and then we can handle more. Thorough plan. Well a lot of the folks that came generally help with that surface I think that she's -- a great common over lunch as soon. Your wife asked you when you're training for that easy and in your response was. Yeah I I had -- -- Received training but the funny part about it is is I don't think I used anything more than -- -- -- 200 in the news in the initial responses. It's all single company operations that's all it is and it's everything Wheeler who they want -- from. It's 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 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. 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. The the first captain came up to me. Don't forget to see so when you wouldn't want done to that point in west and a single that. Beneath it would overdo it had to figured out. -- should 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 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 -- column over resource funds is there any time I got resources available and ask him He need anymore help. And who -- it yet. So -- camps and an amount the more resources that showed up to more than I -- -- over. We had 35 or forty people taken. Throughout the course of the -- just trying to recover. Yeah. Imagine. I saw them building and you can imagine that anybody. Can survive in that this is just amazing. You know is off to the question we ask the fire service. -- is that survivable you know what now what -- -- -- rescue profile. 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 is -- John's church so the -- -- 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 morning 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 -- -- and -- -- that I know. Collapse rescue went -- -- to do voice searches and things like that you understand it well maybe we're gonna lean to repair -- and a pancake that 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 smear. 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 you know. Learn new construction was. Ran the gamut -- -- you -- type -- from the hospital right there all the way down to. -- 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. There you talked about you know -- first target -- -- you you can deal with one target hazard but when you're -- an area for all of your target -- have been hit. Com. How do you prioritize that -- it realistically one of becoming a first come first -- kind of thing and it wasn't that that was what we plan to do that's just how what worked out. Is 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 you know there was -- -- more. Technical -- Grid -- -- -- just start and end in drawn squares and trying to tell people how to get to Wear their home. So. You -- -- you all your folks obviously were working from the -- it until. So basically couldn't work any longer. What -- operational periods like had a different. Well now 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 -- 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 an initiative. To put my 36 hour rotation nor can get some sense of of normalcy back. But you know that that's that's that's. Hindsight that it it and you want things that I think -- important is that your folks know that. And they know which houses and basements in public schools you know than they knew and that that. Insider knowledge is almost impossible if you can you can bring in all the well intentioned folks who want -- -- area. No one. Chief during life she said you -- we're told somebody. It's a corner of the -- -- fiscal. They only know that it. -- -- you know you're Joplin. Just -- you know whatever. Have put -- well -- what they use -- permanently -- Joplin -- so. That's understandable way you know it and everybody. It was it was the right decision at the time it worked out well so I would I would say -- don't think it was a mistake it may seem like personal -- but I don't think could have gotten. Well -- yet that was the issue was was you would tell want to go lay down and they would all look at you you know to a person saying I've 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 -- their truck. It they refused to leave voluntarily got the engine. Out of and licensing and Bill Gates says -- -- a crew member absolutely they were being on the we're not leave anybody behind. And they they wouldn't -- down. 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 -- -- it. You would try to give them time to take a rest break in they just wouldn't do they have things to do. I know there was a lot of this that. Regional teams yours yours -- your four. Primary partners all showed up fairly quickly a lot of regional fire departments -- And -- Missouri task force one give. Because they're fairly close behind it and they were here with about sixteen -- zone and set up so you had some some good support. Tell us about. -- it it progressed from there are no words -- you know I know you've got to fourteen mile swathe that's a half mile wide. How to how to go from there what was it what was the what was that things that you were. Your proudest of them it and because it was a really exemplary deployment really was. Probably the thing that we're 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 -- -- -- that they over an hour out and they had a 120 folks and sixty some vehicles. Okay from staging standpoint where -- put 64 vehicles you know in accountants are have -- -- 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 well. We haven't had He -- were destroyed what we were you know other than than Home Depot and -- Wal-Mart. But the destruction -- there was so catastrophic that you know really 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 -- -- for some 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 that the premium -- -- -- -- million. For little over a week. We managed to get. When you look at the damage path -- -- capable of going back and forth. Seven times -- -- we went from one end to the other turnaround started and came back the other way. That was a huge. Huge accomplishment. And we had been through every engine. 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 by and take a look. That was that was what -- most proud of. What would you recommend. I know you're doing it here who would you recommend other cities midwestern cities are prone to floods fires. Tornadoes. It. Acknowledged effect that can happen. You know -- Since 2003 we've had three tornadoes come through the area 2003 we -- wanna Carl Johnson was an F three. Them CF for the went through pitcher and then. Through the middle -- Newton county and then this one you have to acknowledge the fact that it can't happen here and then it. You know the planning process. You actually have to pay attention. Make contacts. Get past who -- dozens of petty arguments as far as territorial -- and understand everybody's going to be. Committed in everybody's going to be working. You have one common goal and that is to provide the service to the folks that pay your -- 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 might -- It's friends that -- -- -- and they said they -- -- -- -- -- Innocent you know that's a great. Piece of tradition that's mid western tradition. Is that midwestern firefighters. Always have a -- in -- pack you've got. Water Snickers bars meat and -- Whatever you would need to keep you go -- for 72 dollars and it's just your -- and you take with you everywhere you go as it gets a campers and it's a -- thing it's. You -- a -- -- woods of the -- -- but you'll find you've got three days' worth of water food. Do you recommend that. For all the 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 -- said. I didn't really think about where of 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 all volunteers who were common and all of the folks that it will go to Virginia showed up and flip flops in -- off. And there were some spooky folks who showed up by the way. They're pressuring other clubs and stuff that's a good that that's a good visual right there go back and look at the foot -- -- and they are out there. But I wasn't worried about so that we. When somebody else did it made arrangements to to bed down all the responders and the thing was -- -- manages to classes -- -- The dorms were were stand an empty. Southern 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 they had actually thought that through well you know because I knew that the folks -- -- it would be self sustained. They would be -- to care councils 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 loaders you know really you know that we were. We -- the -- from. It was -- truck X and as luck guys. Home -- -- tree service room and initially treasonous. And then you realize how critical those guys are -- -- -- because who else can do that as as quickly and effectively as those thoughts because that's what they do that's that. That's there -- primary mission. You know we fight fire them but 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 want that you could tell they were 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 motors throughout the back -- -- -- without the other heavy equipment we can't do anything you're going to -- him. You know -- you know that's that is an invaluable relationship they have used to you you -- have. The ability to sit and talk to you you know your public works folks and talk to intelligently. And in with the respect its -- -- -- -- 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 meter 200 year old old oak tree. It's not gonna get. And you can't push it -- the chrome and gold -- is it gonna make you go and I did and. Our roof saws -- our K12 serve. 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. Real treat -- you and knows how to use this is gonna get through that thing. What we'll watch -- just thoroughly impressed you -- Guys remove entries way as fast as you were I would a couple carton and drag it out -- way. Yeah they were they were going great guns hand. They got that we had the streets open our public works crew. And all the help they -- were phenomenal we had the streets virtually open where we could pass through almost all of them -- instead of two days. Where we can actually get up and industries and -- -- include. You have an opportunity to rebuild two stations you -- you're 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 -- 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 in 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. -- go back that -- -- more and say okay do we want to put him here. We have eighty 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 -- -- -- you know you it'll look at a crystal ball in and pretend you know where things are gonna go. But neither you nor I know what's gonna -- -- twenty years you do the best you can in this is you know -- near -- best educated guess. Do we have the ability to go back and maybe. Move the station's it is someplace or perhaps we can get better coverage. I ideally would like the law. Put the stations where that they don't line up with -- each other they'll recognize -- -- coasters -- Olazabal. Here you can deal once stationed down I know that that she -- I had this conversation I can deal with losing one. From response capability response plans standpoint but losing to absolutely through a huge wrinkling -- Well it ended its -- Israeli moratorium on building it. So there is getting things cleared -- do you foresee them -- -- or creating. They're doing something else creative with -- because I don't know how this works we if you get your house destroyed. And you mortgage company visual off -- you still own the land or is it. -- understood they stole homeland yet so onerous owns the land. That. They're required to rebuild there or -- going -- I don't know I know that. -- woods makes his house when it was destroyed. You know he's already -- to go elsewhere he's gonna move. But He still owns that plot -- -- -- This matter what you want to do I mean there are some folks that are in town that are. You've got the rumors that there are speculators -- -- you know -- up pieces of Portland by ample and you know is it gonna look different yet analysts significantly different from from a zoning standpoint -- -- really see them doing anything different. It was the majority of it was -- is is. Residential what was residential probably stay that way what was commercial stay that way obviously everything it -- all and -- of our own people went. 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 column so when you lose all Wal-Mart bit. Puts -- -- volume of that story fifties treated. That's -- huge hit for the local economy. So when -- your -- it's like the fifth largest producer in Wal-Mart it's -- it's always in the top ten always. So. You know that's that's a lot revenue that we're losing. That the plan for them the problem there is -- if -- based off the sales tax. You know looking worse case scenario how long can we sustain the level. Capability we -- Hopefully when everything comes back -- the -- local government decided they wanna be opened by November. And I firmly believe that they will be open by November. There in -- area would it go getter well Walgreens we lost a Walgreens at twentieth and range like right now part of right in front of upon people. That He came in salvage what they could -- off and it's almost three done I mean really they're almost done yeah. -- but not the -- people Walgreens -- its front right right right we saw that and it's 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 -- -- you gave 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 I couldn't believe and and that they believe me they said you're the guy from Oklahoma just let it -- you. But you know when I heard tornado I thought. You know maybe small -- and it. Devastated him. Which -- built into your plans. That -- learned from this experience. Obviously the for the first thing we're gonna do is -- safe rooms 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 guys have brought pictures back we're taking pictures looking straight up thru the -- 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 -- some female engineers commend. To look at that disaster area and then look at the collapses to try to figure out to yes that you will not currently have bills and now if we can put a storm shelter that is capable of sustaining war surviving you know -- -- five that. Know that that's going to be -- plus. I was I was -- -- holes and we don't -- my home. We sort that if you're the closer you get to grade the better -- we put arsenic in ground in Iraq. So we you know that's for RC from -- and -- -- And that's we were told -- could be. One of the challenges that we we came across this is when those things should think about about 3 o'clock in the morning when you're sitting in the UC. Is all the folks that have those below grade. Storm shelters that are now underneath all bravery -- -- And -- done a good enough job and will the dogs pick up an effect because there are. Eight feet or progress and you've got all the house -- topic. Luckily we didn't find anybody in in a subterranean vault so that that was applause. As far as trying to make the stations as -- as we can't. We'll tell you for you'll pour money down there yeah what my life I have two boxes -- widely -- you know that's fit to handle it. But it's a romantic it's important for us -- -- -- -- we well and it but some dry goods that honestly can you crackers and such. But. Why you know an -- -- and most of the. 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 -- -- -- be using using cancels. They got as many new tools they can do it and then ran outside and got -- whoever's vehicle wasn't damaged or destroyed. And then they responded. In -- GOP's. The same thing in the guys to. Because there was nothing they could use it couldn't physically -- stations. You know that's -- Realizes that we spent probably the first hour of the response with -- -- who's stations in the next. Because of the huge influx of calls coming in -- -- are desperate for completely well. We utilized some guys from station want to go to try to help sort through so we could try to get ahead. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- So we had. You know that the first 45 hour until the guys to work it out. Anybody people out there with the trucks -- and everything's -- electrically variable. -- -- -- Announces 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 but they didn't hurt. The signs are gone but still have to know especially given directions the -- out of town. With a quarter of walk don't walk is right so you market on the corner this is 23 street mrs. You know Indiana street so you know you know people can look at -- standard map -- say. The -- arts it's all great to do that you know longitude latitude and how to raise -- and a GPS. But you know you can send people to a quarter of this if -- know are on 23 street he's gone and so it's -- half mile then you'll find Indiana street start there and -- gonna got a lot more mysteries I was really as we saw. We were there less of sixteen hours after fourteen hours after certainly -- -- not 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 server -- -- -- rescue. With basically you know the unwritten twenty -- are 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. Well I can't say enough about it speaks vice but the character 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. Not one complaint no I haven't heard one haven't heard cool person say. And with a fire service laid out. Is He in the room I hate him independents that he's -- always you know none of that this is. -- The work ethic. Not a -- you got on the way down. -- and I it and you know all the credit goes to them to the folks who work here and now that the guys that are here. That responded. To any comeback every -- we haven't -- anybody walk away and say okay I can't deal with -- thumb. I think the leadership and I would I would credit the leadership here too and I think there's been. I don't -- just. -- yourself from the other guys that the political Swiss army and -- shows -- -- -- set suicidal office. And not just very the upper Echelon but that the leadership of the company officer level leadership and it. And the community that. -- that the church leaders the city manager and it was a real sense of public service sir it 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. It -- 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 over the next. You wouldn't He needs -- -- you so what it. As the -- guy what those jobs -- need right now will be the best thing in the firefighters are listening right now well what do you what would 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 gear you know were were doing okay there. -- the biggest challenges that I've got to get these guys out 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 in things like that we're we're doing okay I think we're going to be fine. Because you're Phyllis -- this so mostly true just say a prayer and make sure that that you know you keep this in our thoughts and prayers. Because it's a long road well. Fires here and -- you need anything let us know put it -- Appreciate it will help anyway we can. And again thank you for taking time this filibuster and -- got much better things to do try to get your. Human relocated to carry recipient. For you take the time this afternoon to spend with us and we really want to get your story out so people can hear. What a tremendous job you did and yourself and all of -- fire department and police departments in 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. You who saw folks walking off with their gloves in their hands and how can -- help -- And it from the heart and and they weren't. Fool around they wanna come to war front one it. Just we could be as Americans we couldn't be prouder of the fact that -- from the heartland -- America is still aren't. And and you're that you're the primary example of that -- that big. Broad shouldered we'll get -- done. Check on the next kind of deals -- Chief Jim Perkins good to have thanks for everybody in America all the Arafat for -- and thank you for what you do it and if there's anything that we can do for to please -- -- -- -- New. York.

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