Statewide emergency responders descended on Joplin after a mile-wide F-5 tornado devastated the Southwest Missouri town. Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of an emergency, deployed the Missouri National Guard and activated the State Emergency Operations Center, including a request for fire, rescue and emergency medical assistance from the Statewide Mutual Aid System — made up of nine regions throughout the state. In addition, the Missouri State Highway Patrol is deploying troopers from other regions to support local officers.
The Kansas City Fire Department reportedly is overseeing rescue operations in — sending all rescue trucks and 35 firefighters — because the local fire department was incapacitated. Specialized emergency response teams, including Missouri's Disaster Medical Assistance Team 1 (MO-1 DMAT), were deployed to the area to provide aid and assistance, Nixon said publicly. The Missouri State Highway Patrol has 40 troopers from Troop D area in there, 10 additional troopers and a mobile command vehicle to help with communications and dispatch.
"I have ordered the Missouri National Guard to deploy citizen-soldiers and assets to support local law enforcement agencies with emergency coordination and recovery, and other state assets have been mobilized to provide emergency support as well,” Nixon said.
Also deployed was Missouri Task Force 1 in Boone County, one of only 28Urban Search and Rescue teams in the country that specialize in search-and-rescue operations in building collapses. The force is equipped with specialized equipment designed to perform breeching and breaking of concrete and heavy steel. It also offers search equipment, including visual and acoustical devices, medical equipment, and K-9 search teams.
The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has established multiple avenues for those wanting to provide assistance in Joplin. Those interested in volunteering to assist should call 800-427-4626 instead of reporting directly to a command post or the disaster area. Those with medical skills interested in volunteering should visit www.showmeresponse.org/. Those wishing to make donations to help with the relief effort can go to www.sema.dps.mo.gov/recover/donations.asp or call -800-427-4626.