Tuesday, May 3, 2011

TSA Officers React Quickly to Devastating Tornado Touchdown at St. Louis Lambert Airport

TSA Officers With DHS Secretary Napolitano Many of you have followed the heartbreaking stories and recovery efforts coming out of severe weather in the Midwest and Southeast. I wanted to share some of the stories that were brought to my attention. 

On April 27, one of the most deadly weather events in U.S. history occurred as tornadoes ripped through America, killing hundreds of people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of those regions as they start the process of rebuilding.
The tornadoes on April 27 came about a week after another strong tornado inflicted significant damage in St. Louis, including at the airport.
Out of stories of unspeakable tragedy like these, we often hear stories of great courage by otherwise regular people. We have heard a few of these stories in recent days about the actions of the men and women of TSA at the St. Louis airport and wanted to share a few of them with you.
Imagine a 200mph tornado busting through your workplace. That’s exactly what happened last week to many TSA officers and airline employees in St. Louis. Watch the devastating footage here, and here.
In the midst of all the chaos and confusion, several TSA officers went above and beyond to ensure the safety of their coworkers and passengers.
One officer carried a woman who had frozen in panic to a safe location. Moments later, the glass windows in that area of the terminal imploded sending shattered glass in every direction.
Three other officers came to the aid of EMS personnel by helping them remove two passengers from a tornado damaged vehicle. They held IVs and kept the stretchers steady as the passengers were pulled from the car. The officers also helped carry the stretchers through the debris-strewn parking garage when the ambulance couldn’t get through.
Another officer helped a passenger who was a nurse set up a triage area. The officer helped gather supplies together from first aid kits, helped treat wounds and also tasked other officers with ways they could assist the emergency personnel.
Two other officers initiated the evacuation of a terminal after noticing the windows had started to bow and stayed behind a few extra moments to help direct passengers to safety.
Due to falling glass and other hazards, many officers later assisted passengers with safe exit of the airport after the storm.
This spring’s storms have wreaked havoc in many parts of our nation and many regular people are responding in great ways – as we always do in this country – to help. We are proud of our officers who played a role in keeping people safe in St. Louis last week.
TSA Officers React Quickly to Devastating Tornado Touchdown at St. Louis Lambert AirportSecretary Napolitano visited the airport last week and commended the officers for their actions and presented them with DHS coins – an honor and a sign of respect in military and government settings.
The response of our crew at STL came as no surprise. This is just one example of the caliber of employees we’ve hired at airports nationwide. They are quick on their feet and ready to respond in the face of chaos when needed.
For more information on recovery efforts from the storms, please visit FEMA’s blog.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

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Anonymous said...

That security camera footage of when the tornado hit was pretty amazing. Seeing one of the heavy queue stancheons just blowing down the concourse in a straight line gives a good idea of how powerful those winds really were. One doesn't expect that kind of breeze connecting from Kalamazoo to Shreveport!

Anonymous said...

Awww, the puppies weren't working anymore? That's a shame.

TrackerNeil said...

Kudos to the TSOs who pitched in and helped make a bad situation a little less bad.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to some TSA agents who actually did their job.
Now the rest of you, get back to work. And by work I don't mean harassment, groping, stealing, or screaming. I mean the type of work that your colleagues have demonstrated they CAN do - keeping people safe in a crisis situation.

Concerned Observer said...

Congratulations and thanks are in order, for the TSOs, those who trained them in what to do in an emergency such as this, and those who wrote out what should be done in such an emergency.

In a true emergency, at least, they did much good for their fellow men.

Andy said...

A serious question here - hope someone from the TSA and/or someone else can answer this... for the 2nd video:

Are all those black "specks" running across the floor mice/rats? This becomes more obvious as the movie goes on...but I'm not sure.



Chris Boyce said...

I'd like to know how many passengers, airline employees, airport authority employees, and cab drivers did the same things or even heroic acts? Too bad they don't have a public blog available to them.

Wearing a spiffy badge and an intimidating blue cop uniform doesn't make you God's gift to first-response.

Anonymous said...

The questions still remains, why with a 200 mph wind and a tornado bearing down on them were TSA officers left fending for themselves out at the checkpoint area that could have cost them their lives? What would the story be and how valuable would the coin be if one of them were killed or maimed due to a lack of being evacuated? I think that is important to get to the bottom of.

Anonymous said...

DHS coins? Really?

Anonymous said...

wow that was the fastest i have ever seen a TSA employee ever move ever. Dont break your arms patting yourselfs on the back.

Anonymous said...

I am worried that from the bloggers commentary that this point of security has little to no disaster training, or emergency response training.

It was only at the direction of other emergency workers that they did what any untrained civilian would do.

Since this is most likey a security check point that poised for some kind of attack or accidental discharge of contraband, what training do the tsa workers have in first aid, evacuation proceedures, directing flyers to safe areas.

Other then that what do they know about bomb or dangerous substance disposal, dangerous or hazardous material response, spill clean up, and chemical recognition?

RB said...

How much taxpayer monies were wasted on these so called coins?

How did this expenditure of tax monies advance airline safety from terrorist acts?

Anonymous said...

andy said:
"Are all those black "specks" running across the floor mice/rats? This becomes more obvious as the movie goes on...but I'm not sure."

Id contact the St Louis airport and ask them they would be the ones in charge of their building and its cleanliness.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"wow that was the fastest i have ever seen a TSA employee ever move ever. Dont break your arms patting yourselfs on the back."

I actually saw one move faster when an elderly passenger collapsed. The TSA person performed CPR and saved their life. Oh and he never patted himself on the back.

wedding photography fort collins, co said...

Wow, The officer really has a great job in helping their co workers and employees even in times like this. Its really brave and heroic thing to do when they help them. They put the safety of the passengers and co worker first before their selves.

Pensacola Wedding Photographer said...

Two cheers for the TSO's who stepped up in this horrible situation. They didn't let fear run them and reacted accordingly during the tornado. Great job!

Mike said...

It's good to know that these people have our backs in times of emergencies. I always prepare my family for these events just in case. Having government agencies supporting citizens makes me breathe a little easier. Health Safety Training Courses