Disaster Plans Put to the Test

At 9:00 a.m. sharp, emergency sirens disturbed the peace at Cannon Air Force Base. This alerted everyone of a tornado nearby.

By 9:15 a.m., their PA system announced the tornado had passed and it was safe to leave their shelters.

Around 9:30 a.m., emergency crews were at work on the tornado's aftermath.

This was all part of a simulated disaster drill on Thursday, preparing the base for the worse of severe weather season.

"You can prepare for it, but no two incidents are ever the same. You are going to wind up with different amounts of damage," said Jerry O'Connel, Cannon Air Force Base emergency manager.

In the exercise, debris from a tornado punctured the fuel tank of combat air craft, causing a fuel spill at the flight line.

"Anytime you can exercise a plan in a beautiful day like today, you figure out if your plan works and then you re-evaluate the changes if you need to," said Lt. Colonel Ken Mershon, deputy inspector general.

Mershon says preliminary results of the drill show the base is fully prepared for severe weather. But adds that there is always room for improvement.

The base will continue to work on response times and flight line protocol in preparation for severe weather.