Saving lives, by looking in the past

Saving lives, by looking in the past
By: Arnold Wyrick
The Tri-State tornado of 1925 ripped through thousands of people's lives.  Leaving behind a trial of destruction stretching for more than a thousand miles.

So what can today's emergency managers and storm spotters learn from looking back at a storm from 80-years ago? "The old adage is that people who forget history are doomed to repeat it.  Well by looking at these past events it's giving us ideas for preparedness.  It's also giving us basic ideas for spotter protection," says Perry County ESDA Director David Searby.

Searby, was just one of the more than one-hundred emergency managers, storm spotters and weather-forecasters who gathered at John A. Logan College in Carterville, Illinois for a severe weather preparedness conference.

Folks back in 1925 also didn't have NOAA radios to warn them of an approaching storm.  Those radios are just one of the ways things have gotten better and safer for people today. "We have more warnings.  In 1925 they didn't put out warnings for tornado events.  They were afraid folks would be put in a state of confusion, and wouldn't know how to react," says Williamson County ESDA Director Alan Gentry.

The homes of today are built better to withstand severe weather.  But, one of the structures where more people die in a tornado then any other, is a mobile home.

More than 90 percent of people killed by a severe storm lived in a mobile home. That's why the NOAA agency is working to draft legislation to present to lawmakers on capital hill, that would force mobile-home park owners to provide a storm shelter, or safe place to weather a storm for everyone who lives in their parks.