ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The 2023 Midwest Emergency Planning and Response Conference was held Thursday in Rockford. One of the items discussed was the March 31st Tornado Crisis in Belvidere.

“By April 16th everybody was out of the hospital because of all the preparation that these guys did, because of the hands and feet of the fire department, cause all those paramedics,” said Belvidere Fire Chief Shawn Schadle.

Local first responders shared their experiences after handling a deadly March severe weather outbreak. The discussion is part of the annual Midwest Emergency Preparedness and Response Conference.

“I think having the panel all the way from the EMA director to the hospital administration and including M.D. one shows that it is a full circle and that there is there’s many parts to it, and it starts with notification, response and planning,” Chief Schadle said.

“A lot of it was seeing different aspects of it, like the training side and some of the more thought processes on training and how to actually incorporate it, and notice the deficiencies and how to actually react to some of that. That’s the best part about some of the difference speakers they’re experts in their field,” said Colin Pradel part of the City of Aurora’s Emergency Agency.

The local emergency planning committee has hosted the conference for over 20 years.
but, it’s the first time the event’s been held since 2019.

“Being able to get with members of the preparedness and response community is invaluable. Being able to form those relationships, being able to meet one on one, bounce things off of each other. And I came away here with a lot of good ideas on how we can make a response better for the future,” said Dr. Matt Smetana the Medical Director of the Northwest Illinois Preparedness and Response Coalition.