Three years ago, Bridgeport experienced a tornado much like the one that hit Windsor Locks and East Windsor Monday afternoon. This man surveys tornado damage at a Windsor Locks home.
Three years ago, Bridgeport was in the same position that the Windsor Locks area is in now. A tornado ripped through the city, tearing off roofs, smashing windows and ripping down trees.
Parts of the city, including the Barnum Museum, are still repairing the damage caused by the tornado.
“We've learned our lessons, how quickly we can respond to an incident,” said Scott Appleby, Bridgeport’s Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
After the tornado, the city learned that the most important thing for its residents was educating them, Appleby said.
“The first thing is to get the message out as quickly as possible," said Appleby. "Sometimes a warning comes in to us within minutes that there is a tornado or a potential of some sort of activity inside of a thunderstorm cell."
Another lesson learned is that the fastest way to communicate with the community is through social media, because everyone gets it on their smartphones.
The city took advantage of that during yesterday's tornado warning in Fairfield County.
“We placed two Facebook messages, about three or four Twitter feeds from the mayor and the Emergency Operations Center, as well as the Community Response Team members, just to make sure the community does understand that there's severe weather,” Appleby said.
After the tornado in 2010, Bridgeport also became a "StormReady Community," working directly with the National Weather Service to share information.
The city also saw how crucial it is to have the community work together to get past the initial destruction and move forward.