Response to storm shows value of De Soto’s preparation
De Soto learned last week that even a small tornado is a major headache. The out-of-season storm blew through the city Sept. 19, causing damage to 25 properties. Yes, it could have been much worse. But the storm’s relative lack of severity that didn’t mean those having to cope with downed trees, damaged roofs, rain soaked ceilings and broken windows weren’t overwhelmed.
The biggest concentration of damage was in the vicinity of 84th Street from Rik Mar to Corliss Road. To see it the day after the storm was to understand residents would have long days ahead clearing the felled trees and patching homes.
Impressive as the damage was, it wasn’t of the degree that solicits a great deal of outside help. It immediately fell to the city alone to come to the aid of residents.
After the tornado passed, De Soto Fire Department personnel were on the scene helping to make the worst hit area secure. They made available tarps to prevent further water damage.
City officials were on hand the Saturday morning after the storm helping residents assess damage, offering advice such as how to deal with potentially dangerous electrical problems and the labor of cleanup.
In the days following the storms, city personnel helped trees from homes and limbs from yards. They then helped haul away the growing mass of foliage to the city brush pile, which was also open to the public.
It should be acknowledged Johnson County officials responded to a city request for help when on the Monday following the tornado, city officials realized just how time consuming the cleanup would be.
The response was all the more impressive because the storm wasn’t severe enough to demand a full emergency response with a coordinated command center. The early response was, if not routine, a collective effort of city employees understanding the situation and making the appropriate decisions. That, in turn, suggests preparation and professionalism that should give added comfort to residents.