First responders updating disaster procedures after tornadoes

Hopkins Co. EMA says they learned lessons from the days and weeks following the Dec. 10 tornadoes.
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Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 6:26 PM CDT
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MADISONVILLE, Ky. (WFIE) - First responders in Hopkins Co. are updating their disaster response based on the lessons they learned from the Dec. 10 tornadoes.

Hopkins Co. Emergency Management Director Nick Bailey says emergency management plans are always evolving, but they tend to plan for the worst.

He says what happened on Dec. 10 was worse than they ever imagined.

“We’re constantly looking at plans, you constantly test,” Bailey said. “You do what we call exercise and drill those plans and you see the weak points of those plans, the failures of those plans, then you come back to the drawing board and you rework those plans.”

Almost four months removed from the storms, Bailey says he and other first responders are taking what they learned in the days and weeks following the tornadoes and applying it to their planning.

“There are some things that we’ve learned and some things that we would do differently to help expedite, and maybe even some cost saving measures, in the next disaster,” Bailey said.

Bailey says they’re specifically focusing on volunteer and donations management, as well as debris cleanup.

These were all issues following the storms, especially when semi trucks full of supplies kept arriving.

“We had stuff identified that we could deal with a dozen truck loads, but we couldn’t handle 75,” Bailey said.

He says the people of Hopkins County were grateful for the support, but didn’t know what to do with all the supplies.

Bailey says the national media attention brought on more donations and volunteer than they could handle.

“When you garner national attention, you have people that donate from everywhere. Companies donate all kinds of goods. We’re gonna jump out in front of it next disaster and say, ‘This is the stuff we need, this is the stuff that we need you to send us,’” Bailey said.

Bailey hopes that Hopkins Co. will never see another disaster as extreme as these tornadoes, but says they will be better prepared if there is.

He says all plans are written, peer reviewed and practiced before they’re put in place.

Bailey hopes that the new procedures will finish this process and be ready by this time next year.

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