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“Mayhem in May” Read how an entire town gets involved in preparing for a disaster

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City and county stakeholders create communitywide emergency operations plans for residents

Residents of Vilonia, AR, understand the importance of preparedness. In 2011 and 2014, tornadoes ripped through the town, causing extensive damage. The community committed to preparing for the next disaster. “Our tornado season runs from April to June,” said Vilonia Assistant Fire Chief K.C. Williams. “Since the tornadoes in 2011 and 2014 were fresh on all our minds, we could get the community to prepare for their preparedness.”

Organizers of Vilonia's PrepareAthon! included (clockwise from top left) K.C. Williams, Keith Hillman, Casey Williams, and Allin Crawford.

Methods to Their Mayhem

Just eight days after the one-year anniversary of the nearly 200 mile per hour Mayflower/Vilonia Tornado that ravaged their town, the Vilonia Fire Department hosted “Mayhem in May,” a multiagency virtual tabletop exercise at the Conway Expo Center in Conway, AR. This event was one of the more than 23 million registered preparedness actions that took place this year in collaboration with America’s PrepareAthon!

Coordinating with FEMA Region VI, a team of four set to work organizing the exercise and bringing key stakeholders to the table. The team included Assistant Chief Williams and his daughter Casey Williams, who served as an active volunteer following the 2011 and 2014 tornadoes and currently represents Arkansas on the FEMA Region VI Youth Preparedness Council; Vilonia Fire Chief Keith Hillman; and Captain Allin Crawford, firefighter and emergency medical technician with the Vilonia Fire Department.

Read the entire article on America’s PrepareAThon

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