Amarillo Prepares for Natural Disasters

Debra McCartt, Mayor of Amarillo
Debra McCartt, Mayor of Amarillo
Walt Kelley, Emergency Administration Manager for Amarillo
Walt Kelley, Emergency Administration Manager for Amarillo

Roughly 40 organizations gathered at the Civic Center to execute how the city would handle an enormous natural disaster, 18 hours after tornados touched down.

"This is an exercise that is absolutely essential for our community that we do at least once a year," said Debra McCartt, the Mayor of Amarillo.

"We have to be able to deal with anything that's why we take it so seriously. For our citizens and that's what we want to do," said Walt Kelley, the Emergency Administration Manager for Amarillo.

It's been about a decade since the last time Amarillo practiced it's recovery as opposed to immediate response.

Kelley says today's drill is vital to work out the kinks before a real disaster strikes.

"If something is going to go wrong I want it to go wrong today," said Kelley. "Hopefully things will happen so that we can see maybe communication wont work. Web EOC, our electronic communication may not work. This procedure or that procedure needs tweaking."

In fact, this morning, the web EOC program, which scrolls immediate updates, was not working.

Just another way for the teams to learn how to improve.

"Every time we do these, we learn something from those disaster plans," said Mayor McCartt.

"What we look as is ways to improve our procedures," said Kelley.

As mistakes are made today, it means improved safety when a disaster strikes.

Officials say it will still be a few weeks before there's a final report on how the drill was executed.

For more information on safety: