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2012 Stafford County Tornado – Preparation, Response, Recovery

April 16, 2012

The weather experts had been predicting it for the past week – a perfect storm was brewing for Kansas. Unfortunately, they got it right – Stafford County took a beating last night.

So, how did we do with preparation, response, and recovery?

Preparation. A low injury count is a good indicator of good preparation. Number of Stafford County injuries reported? Zero. Great Job!

Response. Stafford County staffs the Dispatch Center with one lone Dispatcher. Amy Clausen launched the sirens, handled hundreds of emergency radio traffic messages, and dealt with the temporary loss of both the telephone and the radio systems. Great Job!

Assistant Director Nick Lauffer and St. John Fire Chief Mike Sanders baptized Stafford County’s new Emergency Operations Center. These two individuals did a great job of tracking weather data and passing on the information to those in the field. Great Job!

Law officers and firefighters were the eyes in the field. These professionals tracked the storm in the field and welfare checked those hit by the storm. Mixed right in the middle was a storm caused structure fire that firefighters suppressed. Great Job!

Recovery. How Stafford County did with recovery could be described with one word – “Amazing.” Friends, neighbors, and families mobilized with the speed and efficiency of a manufacturing assemble line process. The recovery effort is a shining example of what’s special about living in a rural community. Great Job!

A special thank you to everyone who helped with this tragedy.

Our hearts go out to those who lost so much to this violent storm.

*Special thanks to Barton County for helping with Dispatch and Pratt County with telephones, and to Red Cross.

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