Springfield tornado 6/1/11
If a tornado ever does drop in on downtown Amherst as one did with Springfield almost three years ago, it's nice to know the Mullins Center is close by -- within walking distance for many of us.
And after today's practice run involving 350 participants (and a bevy of dogs) that will be my destination point should my house fall prey to the destructive power of a funnel cloud, or any other form of catastrophe.
UMPD Incident Command vehicle
The sheltering drill brought together all manner of emergency services -- UMPD, AFD, UMass Environmental & Safety, UMass EMS, Red Cross, all under the direction of UMass Medical Reserve Corps and UMass Office of Emergency Management.
Check in started at 2:00 p.m.
About 100 cots set up on the main floor
All participants were tracked by electronic bracelets keeping a data base of who checked in or out so authorities would have an accurate measure of the shelter's population. And if loved ones called to find a missing person the data base would instantly indicate if that individual was on site.
During the 2011 October Halloween snowstorm, that knocked out power in Amherst for up to a week, the nearest emergency shelter was in Northampton.