Palatine Emergency Management Coordinator Tom Smith was among those responding to the devastation caused by tornadoes in Harrisburg, Illinois.
The Wednesday, Feb. 29 storms killed 13 in four states. Harrisburg was hit especially hard with six fatalities and large sections of the 9,000-resident community destroyed, the Huffington Post reported.
Among those responding to the disaster were local emergency managers from the northwest suburbs, including Smith. The Emergency Management Assistance Team (EMAT) is a state-wide mutual aid network.
"We are on call every day to support any jurisdiction in the state were a disaster strikes," Smith stated in a press release.
"We often reference that all disasters are local disasters," stated Diane Logsdon, President of the Northern Illinois Emergency Management Consortium. "But when a disaster is as devastating as the tornado out breaks this week have been, even the most experienced emergency managers can use a hand."
Another storm system produced tornadoes Friday, March 2 that ravaged areas of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio killing at least 30, the Huffington Post reported.
Logsdon and Smith were deployed to southern Illinois Saturday and will spend 12 to 16 hours a day for the next three days working with local responders.
Also deployed to the Harrisburg area were Barrington Deputy Fire Chief John Feit and Bob Dunne, Emergency Management Coordinator at Northfield Township. Feit and Dunne were expected to return from Harrisburg sometime this weekend.
"If there's a need and we can support the local emergency manager, we are happy to go," Logsdon stated. "We know these people, we've trained with them for years and now we get to work together. And, we know that if we need them to come here to help us, they will do the same."
Information submitted by Northern Illinois Emergency Management Consortium.