Page 18 - IU Southeast Summer 2012 Mag

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Tornado damage in Henryville.
how much equipment was operating
in the area of operations we were
responsible for,” Romero said. “We’re
talking hundreds of people and pieces
of emergency equipment spread out
over an area of nearly 70 square miles
in Clark County alone.”
People from across Southern Indiana
and Kentucky wanted to help, but
they didn’t know how. That’s where
Fletcher came in. She coordinated the
flow of information to the community,
which included telling the public how
they could help and handling the local,
regional, and national media who were
on site by Saturday morning.
The lack of communication avenues like
Internet and telephone made Fletcher’s
interaction with the news media a vital
part of the recovery efforts. The news
was the only way that people outside
the affected communities could get an
accurate impression of what was going
on and what aid was needed.
“There’s no way we could do what we
did for the community without the
media,” she said.
The Henryville community and local
emergency responders were gracious
and willing to accept the aid offered by
the state team, Garcia explained. But
while IMAT hit the ground running with
a military-like precision, that didn’t
mean they weren’t considering the
human aspect of the devastation.
“You can’t separate the human factor
out of it,” he said. “We had to be
careful of sensitivities. We were careful
with things like referring to debris
as residential debris or construction
debris, not trash because it wasn’t trash
– that used to be somebody’s home.”
With IMAT and local responders
working around the clock, water
service, electricity, communications,
and gas lines were restored within days
of the tornado strike. Anecdotes from
local and state emergency management
showed that it was one of the quickest
recovery efforts in Indiana history.
As the incident expanded beyond
Henryville and Marysville, IMAT was
divided between the command post
in Henryville and the Clark County
Emergency Operations Center. Mack
then managed the Clark County EOC
and worked with Romero to address
countywide debris management,
sheltering, donations and volunteer
management, and other countywide