Leadership

Tornado Teaches Topeka a Lesson

Issue 3 and Volume 123.

Tornado Teaches Topeka a Lesson A tornado smashed through Topeka, Kans., on June 8, 1966, killing 17 persons, injuring over 500 and destroying more than $100 million worth of property. The tornado taught Topekans many lessons—primarily that plans were completely lacking for casualty control, ambulance dispatching, and communication with hospitals. These areas have since become the responsibility of the Topeka Fire Department, and procedures and communication systems have been developed to cope with future disasters. Fire department headquarters was notified of the impending tornado through its civil defense hot line 4 minutes before the public sirens sounded. With its paging system, headquarters notified all fire stations, which were soon turned into emergency centers as citizens flocked to the safety of station basements. The tornado, which hit shortly after 7 p.m., bulldozed a path of destruction six blocks wide and 15 miles long through this city of 130,000. It destroyed or…

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