911 Audio From Gaylord Tornado Reveals Calm, Measured Response
The first responders in the Northern Michigan town were overwhelmed by Friday's tragic storm, but they held their own against overwhelming odds.
From The First Warning: 13 Minutes Of Hell
This series of dispatch audio was posted online over the weekend and it revealed that from the initial warning that the storm was imminent, Gaylord 911 dispatch held their own with calls coming in from all over town about damage and potential casualties.
Posted Saturday to YouTube by Rob Dale, the following audio was taken from the Otsego County Fire Department dispatch from just the first thirteen minutes from when the storm hit at 3:43 pm Friday, May 20. In it, you can hear calls come in from the entire 12-mile path of the storm which followed M-32 into the heart of the city.
It's clear from the very first calls that the damage was great and the storm would be taxing the department's capabilities. That being said, the first responders and the dispatcher heard on these calls are to be commended. They seemed well trained to stay calm in the wake of overwhelming odds and handle things as best they could.
First Responders Immediately Called In Reinforcements From Other Towns
In this Michigan State Police map following the track of the storm, you can see it moved through the heart of the small town, following the main thoroughfare (M-32/Main Street) through town, right into the most populated area, taxing the emergency services beyond their resources.
You can hear in the dispatcher's voice start to crack at times, but she stayed calm and once the first responders are on the scene, they immediately begin calling in resources from other departments, with Traverse City and Grayling committing resources within minutes.
It's amazing how fast they were able to assess the rapidly evolving situation and address the issues as best they could.
As someone who lived in Gaylord for two years, my heart goes out to that community. we have a link here for how you can help the Alpine Village recover. I even lived for a time in the Nottingham Forest trailer park that bore the brunt of the storm on Friday. i survived many a massive snow storm in my time there, but never in my wildest dreams could I have thought a tornado would strike there.
In addition to the obvious issues residents there are facing, MSP posted this morning that they caught some people rummaging through the damage, looking to take advantage of a bad situation.
See Pictures From the Tornado That Devastated Gaylord, Michigan