Springfield, MO -- First responders arrived on the scene, within minutes, when tornadoes ripped through Missouri in early May. Many individuals and families needed immediate help, and these responders provided that critical assistance.
In disasters, local police and fire departments, emergency medical professionals, county and state emergency management personnel and volunteer agencies rush into the path of destruction to administer much-needed medical assistance; locate survivors who may have been buried under debris; set up shelters; and prepare, serve and deliver meals.
"They are there 365 days a year, and they're ready to save lives, protect public property, and address immediate needs," said Mike Karl, federal coordinating officer for the Missouri disaster. "We can never thank the local first responders enough."
Across the nation, millions of emergency responders train regularly to act at a moment's notice and put their lives at risk to help others. Before Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster programs were available, first responders and civic leaders in Missouri were meeting the urgent needs in their communities or coming to the aid of neighboring cities.
Although a presidential declaration was issued within 48 hours after the May 4 tornadoes, first responders and emergency managers continued to meet the threat of a second and third wave of tornadoes, severe storms and flooding, which struck other sections of the state on May 8 and 10.
"The State of Missouri is very grateful to our first responders, local officials, and voluntary agencies for the work they do," said Jerry Uhlmann, director of the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency. "We rely on the services they provide. They are absolutely critical when disaster strikes."