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States Continue Cleanup After Tornado Outbreak

03/05/2012 -

Several states have deployed National Guard troops to assist in security and cleanup after last week'stornado outbreak;after just five days in, it's been the deadliest March for tornadoes in 18 years.

Five states suffered fatalities--the official death toll resting right below 40. In some areas, winds in excess of 170 mph flattened homes and businesses and left trails of debris that lasted for miles. A pattern of severe weather included 70 tornadoes in the last 10 days.

A disaster emergency has been declared in 11 Indiana counties and a hard snow fell overnight, slowing recovery efforts and making clean up that much more difficult. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is standing by and in contact with state officials. FEMA says there have been no requests for federal assistance so far, but are conducting joint damage assessments with local officials in some states.

Kentucky governor Steve Beshear has asked residents tostay off the roads to allow 400 activated National Guard troops access to the worst hit areas and to stay out of damaged structures until they can be inspected. The Kentucky Department of Public Health reports 20 fatalities and more than 300 people injured. In Ohio,troops were activated to expedite storm cleanup.

Last week’s tornado outbreak and the outbreak at the end of April 2011 are rare, according to meteorologists, fortunately technology allows for earlier warning than ever before, which has helped limit causalities, but "we are no match for Mother Nature at her worst,” Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said in a statement on Friday.

Much of Security Management’s recent coverage has focused on preparing for and responding to disasters.

The Security Management cover story this month examines how companies can minimize the fallout their brands suffer withproper contingency planning. Last, month the Mid-Atlantic Disaster Recovery Association discussed the importance ofpsychological first aidin addition to recovery efforts and in January, the Department of Health and Human Services released a list of usefulsmartphone applications for first responders and the public.

photo taken March 5 by the Kentucky National Guard