First responders prepare for tornado disaster

BUTLER COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - So far this tornado season we haven't seen anything severe around here yet.

But, if and when that day comes, first responders in Butler County are preparing to handle the worst, and it's all very hands on.

There aren't any real victims, and there was no real tornado in Wayne Township on Thursday.  But, some training exercises for that day are as real as it gets.

"They'll actually stage their area, set up their command post, and actually determine which areas are safe to search, divide up into teams and go ahead and search the area and look for victims that may be trapped," said Matt Haverkos of the Butler County EMA.

The training is hands on, to say the least.

Crews from Seven Mile and Somerville combed an old motel and trailers that are nearly destroyed in their search for 170-pound victim dummies.

"It's an essential exercise.  If we have a tornado, we've got to know how to react," said Larry Wilson, chief of the Seven Mile Fire Department.

But just how valuable is the training?

"As firefighters, EMT, you have to train continuously.  If you don't, you do not sharpen your skills, then you lose it.  We have to keep our skills up," added Wilson.

All of the training is a proactive step to make sure these first responders know how to get you the help you need in the face of a disaster like a tornado.

When asked, "If a tornado ripped right through here, would you say you guys would be ready," Wilson responded, "We'll be ready."

The training continues a few nights a week for the next three weeks in Butler County.  Each time, there will be two new emergency responding agencies taking part in the events.

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