First Responders Put Mass Disaster Training to Work

By Brett Martin |

Published 07/23 2014 06:41AM

Updated 07/23 2014 07:02AM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Whenever this is sent across the scanner, its time to take cover but for first responders, its time to prepare for anything to happen.

"Highway patrol is confirming a tornado one mile north of republic, tornado is moving east at 50 miles per hour,  tornado is moving east at 50 miles per hour, headed directly toward the city of Springfield."

Seconds later, first responders are on scene of a tornado disaster.

CoxHealth, Springfield officials and Mercy Hospital, among more than 20 other agencies, participated in an area wide disaster evaluation.

Russ Conroy is the Director of Emergency Preparedness at Mercy Hospital.

"One of the great things about Springfield and the surrounding area is that we all kind of work together when something happens," says Conroy.

Paramedics faced injuries like burns, broken bones and deceased victims. More than 150 victims, or volunteers, with the help of Missouri State students for the real life effects, made the drill as real as possible.

Michallia Worley was among those injured.

"I'm a fourteen year old girl who was rescuing people out of a fire and collapsed."

Worley says its not just training for them but for her as well.

"To see exactly what happens in situations like this, I plan on going into the medical field after high school and after college so its something that I think will help prepare me later on," says Worley.

Conroy says the drill happens once a year to evaluate and learn for the next year.

"The areas that we identify today that have possible advantages for improvement, that's what we will work into our plan for next year."

After the disasters at Immaculate Conception and Mercy hospital, the Greene County Office of Emergency Management went to work on giving the latest to the media.

At the end of the day, counties having a team of so many different agencies coming together for one cause is uncommon.

"We feel its very unique, I know that some areas that are very chronic hazardous areas tend to work together but to be in the Midwest and to have that ability," says Conroy. 

Conroy says the people of Greene County should feel confident, if a disaster strikes, they will be in good hands.

"If you look at our office of emergency management center, that is something that should be, that goes up against Seattle, Washington and those types of places."

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