Dispatchers in Lincoln and Union County called out the storm warning after Beresford Fire Chief Tarz Mullinix requested sending out weather spotters for possible impending weather Sept. 2. At least, that’s what they were instructed to do.

A large-scale incident training was held in Beresford in conjunction with multiple agencies in the event that a tornado touched down in Beresford. The training, done yearly in different parts of the county, helps communities come together in times of crisis and assist one another.

The weather spotters were dispatched to their areas as the level went from a tornado watch to a tornado warning. That’s when the drill started rolling. Spotters were called back in after a tornado sighting and touchdown near the campground southwest of Beresford. The tornado was reported as heading in a northeast direction into the city.

Union County Emergency Manager Jeff Christie and Lincoln County Emergency Manager Harold Timmerman then presented the local responders with numerous events caused by the tornado that needed immediate attention.

Mullinix was appointed the Incident Commander for the drill and was tasked with leading all the responding agencies.

large incident training

A large incident training was held in Beresford with multiple agencies involved. The simulated training was for a tornado strike on Beresford. Above, briefings were held before the training started.

After the touchdown was reported, other agencies were dispatched for mutual aid.

“The good part of doing a drill in a town like Beresford is you need Union County dispatch in order to get mutual aid from Hudson, or another town like Hudson, they have to contact Lincoln County dispatch and get them sent over,” Christie explained. “This drill went through all the channels the proper way.”

The number one concern was the preservation of life. Agencies were directed to rescue and treat victims, along with transporting them. Other areas were needed to be considered as well, such as correcting hazardous conditions, securing areas of damage to prevent injuries or other dangers to the public, procuring provisional housing, food and clothing for victims and determining destruction waste sites.

A tornado exercise was chosen because the area is moving into the tornado season and it seemed appropriate.

“We had this planned and then two weeks before that, they had that tornado up by the Lennox area,” Christie said. “So, it’s that time of year and we wanted to simulate tornado strike on Beresford.

See full story in this week’s Dakota Dunes / North Sioux City Times and Leader-Courier.