Harrison Township, Montgomery County Thanks Responders After Siege of Tornadoes
Harrison Township in Montgomery County (population 22,397) experienced an EF4 tornado at approximately 11:05 p.m. on Memorial Day, May 27, 2019. Our first responders were on the ground in the affected areas within minutes of the tornado. Over 1,500 properties were searched within the first 12 hours after the event and we found no persons or animals with significant injuries. At the same time our Services Department began clearing the township rights-of-way of all the debris that had been spread by the tornado.
Within 24 hours of the tornado we had searched all affected areas twice and had 90 percent of our roadways open for emergency vehicles. We were also inundated with support from other local jurisdictions that sent road crews to assist with debris removal. Within the first 48 hours the phone calls from volunteer groups came in, however, our disaster plan did not include any details on how to coordinate volunteer groups. With the assistance of Montgomery County EMA and Clark County EMA, we received a crash course in volunteer coordination and opened our fire station 94 to a donation pick-up/drop/off location and volunteer reception center to coordinate all of our volunteers. We temporarily reassigned two staff members to operate this facility along with 15-20 volunteers a day for 2 weeks. We donated over 17,000 items and logged over 3,000 volunteer hours in operating this center.
Harrison Township had 1,849 structures affected by the tornado with 774 of those properties either destroyed or suffering major damage. We estimate over 3,500 residents were displaced and over 80 of our businesses were destroyed or suffered major damage. We are extremely proud of the volunteers that showed up to work in the neighborhoods and thankful to our partner townships and cities that assisted with debris removal for several weeks.
The article above is a letter of appreciation written by Harrison Township officials and staff.
First published in the September/October 2019 issue of the Ohio Township News magazine.