City Teams Respond Quickly, Efficiently To Tornado Aftermath

After the winds stopped howling, tree branches ceased snapping, and rain and hail subsided, the Arlington police and fire departments, along with other City divisions, were available immediately to help start the recovery process after a devastating tornado rocked parts of Arlington on Tuesday, April 3.

On site, Arlington Police Department (APD) and Arlington Fire Department (AFD) worked together at the damaged properties, conducting searches systematically and setting up checkpoints to maintain safety and security.  Public Works staff began setting barricades, placing generators, repairing and resing signal lights, clearing trees and debris from the roads, and arranging for hauling of storm debris to the landfill.

“Residents have already been traumatized by the storm, and we want to make sure that they’re not further impacted by people trying to take advantage of the situation,” said Tiara Richard, an APD spokeswoman.

Citizen gratitude to all City employees has been plentiful since Mayor Robert Cluck signed a disaster declaration the day the storm passed.

Deborah Su, who lives south of I-20 and Green Oaks Boulevard, gave kudos to Public Works and APD for their effort following the storm. “Not that you’d want to go through this process, but I think they were prepared and went into action pretty fast,” she said. “They have been great – keeping us safe and informed and helping with clean up.”

Other residents shared a similar response on the City’s Facebook page.

“I cannot give enough praise to our police officers and firefighters. They immediately responded and truly stood guard in our neighborhood,” said resident Cecilia Castillo Cossio. “We are VERY fortunate to live in a city that has the resources to take care of its citizens.”

Melinda Schmidt McElhaney agreed. “Arlington, your Emergency Management of the Tornado Disaster has been Stellar. You have been amazing and quick. Thank you,” she said.

Why was the City able to respond so well to the tornado? Planning.

“The preparation with Arlington Fire Department and City agencies for a major emergency pays off. That’s why we were able to react quickly once the weather cleared,” said Richard.

In addition to immediate response from APD and AFD, there has been an ongoing effort from City staff across all departments to make recovery go as smoothly as possible.

The City set up the Tornado Recovery Center, a one-stop shop for residents with questions about city services.

“I can’t tell you how helpful this has been,” said Andy Popoff, a community emergency response team (CERT) volunteer who helped in the recovery center Thursday.

The Tornado Recovery Center is located at the Fire Training Center, 5501 Ron McAndrew Drive, 76013.

Animal Services also rolled out their Lost and Found webpage earlier than planned to accommodate pet owners that lost a furry friend. Residents can report lost or found pets on the site, as well as see if their pets have been found.

Keeping citizens informed has been a top priority too. There is a section dedicated to anything tornado-related on the City’s website, arlingtontx.gov, as well as on its news site, myarlingtontx.com.

Staff is also updating the City’s social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Picasa and YouTube.

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Esteban Blanco
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I just have to say to all of you…and tell you that you guys and girls did an INCREDIBLE JOB on Tuesday April 3rd! I am sending a letter to the Mayor and City Council to let them know how we feel. The amount of lives you saved were at the very least 30+ thousand by my count of the zip codes affected. We owe you our lives and we are so greatful that we can count on E.O.C., A.P.D., A.F.D. and E.M.S. On Tuesday my wife and I went out to help and later on after dropping her off… Read more »
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