“My responsibility as a manager was to make sure everyone was safe,” he said.
Staff followed the hospital’s tornado plan to move patients and take shelter in the building’s interior.
“We knew where we were supposed to be, and we got them there,” Stremble said.
The team had practiced the plan many times. Weather reports that morning alerted staff to the possible danger, and Moore Medical employees ran through the tornado plan again in preparation.
“We have our own internal alerts and they had been going out all morning,” he said.
When the news came that the tornado was on the ground and headed their direction, the staff sprang into action.
“There was a lot of apprehension,” Stremble said. “You could tell something was about to happen.”
When the pressure shifted, making people’s ears pop, the gravity of the situation became apparent.
“It got quiet,” he said
After the tornado blew through, nurses looked to help anyone who was hurt.
“I need to know if you’re hurt,” Stremble said he called out.
There were bumps, bruises, scrapes and cuts but no serious injuries.
“It was definitely a relief,” he said.
Stremble and his staff tried to execute the evacuation plan, but debris was blocking the front entrance.
He crawled out the front entrance and saw a fire truck arriving. He flagged down emergency responders and directed them to the back of the building, where they helped people out of the debris.
For Stremble, it was another few hours before things slowed down enough for him to really see and absorb that the tornado had laid waste to the hospital. At that moment, the value of the tornado plan and preparation became crystal clear, he said.
On Tuesday, Dr. Robin Mantooth surveyed the foundation for the temporary facility along with Stremble and Emergency Services Director Gail Grego. While Mantooth and Grego were not on the scene when the tornado hit, both remember the relief they felt at learning patients, employees and those who took shelter at Moore Medical were safe.