TROTWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) – Trotwood and state officials claim thousands of lives were saved during the Memorial Day tornadoes thanks to preparation and training of emergency responders.
Trotwood Police Department has previously received the prestigious CALEA Accreditation with Excellence Award along with the Meritorious Award – designation for having been accredited for 15 consecutive years.
Fire Chief Rick Haacke says his team of first responders train for 250 hours a month for disaster scenarios and are also award-winning for their life-saving efforts.
During the tornado crisis, Police Chief Erik Wilson says his officers’ response was effective because they had just completed tornado emergency response training just a few weeks prior.
“It’s just the training kicked in and it was time to put in action all the things that we practiced,” said Chief Wilson.
“The police and the fire department …work together so we were prepared. So, when [the tornado] happened it was flawless. It fell right into place and we were able to work together as one department,” said Chief Haacke.
To reward these best practices, Ohio Auditor, Keith Faber, publicly recognized the departments on Thursday afternoon.
“The only way you get that kind of response is by preparing, practicing and preparing and practicing,” said Faber. “One of the things we do is look for best practices and performance audit. [We] recognize things that are going right. So we’ll be looking to see if we can gather anything from this example that we can put out to other communities with regard to preparation and training as well.”
The chief’s say they don’t work for recognition; however, they applauded the work of their responders.
“Nobody once complained of being tired, as a matter of fact, when the end of the day and the shift changed everybody asked to stay,” said Chief Haacke.
Faber also publicly thanked Trotwood Mayor, Mary McDonald and radio personality Faith Daniels. In the aftermath of the tornadoes, Daniels moved into the Trotwood Fire Station to better be able to help the community access the food and supplies they needed. Daniels was the only non-first responder and non-government official recognized on Thursday. Keith Faber said that she was a role model; not only for the Trotwood Community, but also for the state of Ohio.