Practice A Plan: Emergency responders say never forget Joplin tornado

Published: Mar. 5, 2019 at 4:48 PM CST
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It is good timing for Severe Weather Awareness Week. Our temperatures will be changing drastically this week, and with that the possibility of storms by Saturday.

Emergency responders say: be prepared!

We are eight years removed from the Joplin tornado and you would be hard pressed to find someone right after that tornado that did not have an emergency preparedness plan, and practice it. But now, with all the time that has gone by, emergency managers say fewer and fewer people are doing so.

"I've never seen a war zone, but I think this is what it would look like. Totally, totally, everything destroyed."

That was the quote from a woman who survived the Joplin tornado. Those words go through the mind of emergency managers anytime there is the possibility of severe weather.

It was human nature after Joplin 2011, the lives lost and sheer destruction lit a fire under all of us. Emergency managers say it's time to rekindle the flame.

"If we're disaster free for quite a while, it seems like the preparedness activities get farther and farther away from us," explained Christian County Emergency Management director Phil Amtower.

After the EF-5 in our backyard, the list to get a tornado shelter was months long. Fast forward almost a decade and not so.

In fact, Amtower says, most people don't practice a plan much less think through one. Here's to hoping that changes this week.

"One of our favorite sayings is your body cannot go where your mind has not been," said Amtower. "So if you just start thinking about what you would do if you're in a situation, it would make you a little better prepared."

This is the week where you not only think through a plan, talk to your kids about it, and practice it.