Moore Discusses Ways To Improve Tornado Response

Wednesday, April 30th 2014, 6:13 pm
By: News 9

A year after the 2013 Moore tornado, the Oklahoma City suburb has made changes to how it responds to tornadoes. The focus in Moore is on communication between decision-makers and first responders.

"These events are so chaotic, so crazy the first 12 to 24 hours that it's very difficult to actually sit down and plan for [those] first 12 hours," Moore city manager Steve Eddy said.

But the difficulty hasn't stopped Moore from trying, according to Eddy. The city has started with a new emergency operations center just south of City Hall. Officials are also making sure help is mobilized before winds pick up by keeping first responders out of harm's way and ready to return as soon as the danger has passed. For things to run smoothly, Moore wants neighboring communities to understand their situation.

"We want your help," said Eddy. "We appreciate your help, but wait until we call you."

Eddy says it was difficult to control the response on May 20th with officers and paramedics from other jurisdictions self-deploying. He says the response became chaotic with traffic congestion. He also says there was no way to regulate the response or know who was providing support in the city.

Moore officials have been working with outside agencies to better prepare working relationships with other cities in the event of another tornado.

Finally, the power of a new app may help the most. GPS technology will allow rescuers to pinpoint storm shelters throughout the city. Until recently, all Moore officials had was an address list of where shelters were located.

"We'll know down to the inch where that shelter is to make sure that somebody gets to it ASAP," Eddy said.

The debris from the 2013 Twister made search efforts extremely difficult for responders to find locations of homes using addresses.