• Stephen Jordan

Notes for State & Local Leaders as Deadly KY Tornadoes Response Kicks in Swiftly, Pt. 1 - Background



Check out part two of this blog containing tips for Kentucky and other state emergency leaders for immediately following a disaster: https://www.isdus.org/post/notes-for-state-local-leaders-as-deadly-ky-tornadoes-response-kicks-in-swiftly-pt-1-background.


In the aftermath of the devastating tornadoes that struck western Kentucky and five other states – Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Mississippi – the response is already up and running.


The tornadoes appeared in clusters, and one tornado may have set the record for the longest one ever. The trail of destruction that they left was immense. Of particular concern was the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory, where 110 workers were onsite, and there have been only 40 rescues so far. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said that, “I don’t think we’ll have seen damage at this scale ever.” Both the Lexington Herald-Leader and New York Times have useful sites for continuing information.


President Biden has already issued a Presidential Disaster Declaration. Governor Beshear has set up the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, and FEMA reports that it has sent two Incident Management Assistance Teams, and that an Incident Support Base is being established at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to rapidly deploy personnel and supplies as needed. This includes:

  • Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) team Indiana Task Force-1 to assist local response and a 10-person team deployed to the Kentucky Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort.

  • 52 generators, 30,000 meals, 45,000 liters of water, and also cots, blankets, infant toddler kits, and medical equipment/supplies.

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers temporary power and planning and response teams are on alert.

  • A Mobile Emergency Response Support has been deployed to Kentucky, which includes two Mobile Emergency Operations Vehicles with emergency communications capabilities for federal resources, if needed.

  • Additional staging teams and damage assessment staff are being mobilized and are prepared to deploy if needed to any of the affected areas.

  • 11 shelters are open in Kentucky. 3 are open in Tennessee.

  • FEMA is in contact with state emergency management officials as tornado damage reports come in from Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee.

The American Red Cross has jumped into action. Here’s their December 12 update.

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