Lessons Learned from the Springfield Tornadoes of 2006


Eight years ago this is what many of you were dealing with. Severe weather struck most of Central Illinois. And two tornados ripped across parts of Springfield.. causing unimaginable damage. And as hundreds of good samaritans hustled to jump in.. Government "red tape" actually stopped them from helping! But from this giant mess something good emerged. They weren't certified responders nor did they own a police badge. They were everyday people who came together to save their city.

"We had, you know, hundreds of volunteers," said Brad Schaive.. one the head volunteers. "Heavy equipment stretched back as far as you can see. We came around one of the streets in Springfield. We're going to mobilize and get to East Side of Springfield. We run into a roadblock and the Police Department says turn around and go back."

These men and women had the rescue equipment and other resources to help out. But, because they weren't certified responders they weren't allowed in certain areas.

"There were parts of the city that never saw a clean-up crew," said Schaive. "They want to get in there, but they don't have the heavy equipment and the chainsaws and the numbers to get that accomplished."

That's when Brad Schaive decided to create the Emergency Response Coalition and pushed to get them approved as a certified rescue team. Davit Butt of The Sangamon County Office of Emergency Management heeded the call.

"We introduced a resolution recognizing the E.R.C," said Butt. "We've noted them in our emergency response plan."

Brad Schaive says, "That was really the defining moment because the saw are frustration of what we could accomplish, what we couldn't accomplish. And they moved on it."

Since then, the Emergency Response Coalition has been dispatched successfully.. seven times. Saving lives across Central Illinois.

Current Conditions