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J Air Med Transp. 1991 Oct;10(10):7, 9-11, 13-6.

Air medical response to the 1990 Will County, Illinois, tornado.

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Loyola Lifestar, Maywood, IL.


At least 29 people were killed and over 300 injured on August 28, 1990, when a powerful tornado cut a path of destruction through the outskirts of Chicago. The tornado's destructive force began a mammoth rescue effort from over 50 emergency medical service agencies, 80 ambulances, 1,000 rescue personnel, and Chicago's two air medical helicopters. The EMS effort was supplemented by an equally large response from police, fire, heavy rescue, K-9, and other emergency teams across north and central Illinois. Medical mass casualty incident procedures were activated and coordinated through the Will-Grundy Emergency Medical Services System, located at Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet. The towns of Crest Hill, Plainfield, and Joliet were the hardest hit, with more than $200 million in damages. The tornado strained not only the ground-based EMS and rescue systems, but taxed the resources of the city's air medical programs as well. This paper reviews the response by critical care air medical transport teams to this natural disaster.

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