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Learning From Past, Plainfield Prepares For Tornado Drill

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An F-5 tornado struck the Village of Plainfield in August, 1990. (CBS)

An F-5 tornado struck the Village of Plainfield in August, 1990. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – April could be one of the worst months for tornadoes in the nation’s history–with the possibility of more than 300.

One local community is planning a large-scale tornado drill next Saturday– to put to use what it has learned since a violent tornado struck 21 years ago this summer.


LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser Reports

It was Aug. 28, 1990 when a F5 tornado, the most powerful ever in the Chicago area, hit Plainfield. Thirty nine people died and more than 350 were hurt.

And it changed the way the community thinks about tornadoes.

“The big story about 1990, there really was no warning before the tornado came into town,” said John Konopek, Plainfield’s police chief and director of the village’s emergency management agency.

“Our village has really made a concerted effort to increase our emergency management capabilities [to] make sure we have numerous trained weather spotters.”

The village also has an emergency response team composed of residents.

They all took a 10 week training course in first aid and search and rescue, said Konopek.

And next Saturday, he says, they’ll be put to the test.

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