The drill, titled “Operation Perfect Storm,” replicated the effects a tornado would have if it swept across the campus of National University Health Sciences at 200 E. Roosevelt Road. A mock tornado warning was issued at 8:45 a.m., and a tornado hit the area at 9 a.m., with volunteers in place to make actual 911 calls.
“If this was a real event, we would have handled it well,” said Lombard Fire Chief George Seagraves.
A Lombard police officer was the first to respond at 9:06 a.m., and dozens of emergency response vehicles followed suit, including firefighters and paramedics from Glen Ellyn and Wheaton.
Two houses east of the campus on Edward Street that are owned by the university were partially demolished during the drill. One of the homes had smoke coming out of it and firefighters had to gain entrance by breaking down the door and windows, while a garage in back of the house collapsed on a car that contained two individuals.
The other house had four of the 71 volunteer victims that took part in the drill. The left side of the house had been taken away and a car was flipped on its side near the entrance of the house. Firefighters and police officers were aware the drill was taking place today, but did not know the specifics of the disaster.
“Being on the inside and knowing what was supposed to happen, I was very impressed,” said Lombard Police Lt. Scott Watkins, one of the drill’s organizers. “It was almost like they knew the script.”