Officials in Perryville reflect on disaster response

PERRYVILLE, MO (KFVS) - One year ago, a tornado ripped through Perryville, Missouri and caused widespread destruction across two states.

One year later, emergency officials reflected on their response, training and lessons learned for future natural disasters.

Perryville assistant Chief of Police William Jones remembered the day his department was put to the test.

"There are some of the houses, that we have no idea where they're at," said Chief Jones. "We all assumed they would be over in the field across the highway from where the tornado hit – they weren't."

First responders only have moments to know how to react.

The chief said both fire and police agencies train for this type of catastrophe.

"This wasn't our first tornado and this wasn't our first major incident," said Chief Jones.

Natural disasters like this are a possible reality each year in the region.

So much so, Chief Jones and his colleagues decided to get together for lunch a few times each year.

"Because we really don't have to think about who do we need to call," said Chief Jones.

The assistant chief said being proactive in meeting regularly plus lots of training helped them be ready.

Moving forward, he believes his team will continue to be strong.

"Not sure that this is a lesson that we learned," said Chief Jones. "What I will say that this was a reinforcement of what we knew."

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