Rudd, IA – One Year Later: The Call to Safety
(ABC 6 News) – December 15th, 2021 marks one year since an EF1 tornado ripped through Rudd, Iowa – a town of less than 400 people.
Tyler Hicks, a volunteer firefighter was new to the job when he was outside sounding the siren.
“You see it happen a lot on the news and stuff but you never think that it’s going to hit your hometown,” said Hicks, “but, it really kind of hits home that this can really happen to anybody.”
The tornado itself was nearly two miles long with winds peaking at 110 mph. Hick said those two minutes, were terrifying.
“The day after it was really humbling to see the whole community and all the other surrounding communities come together to help us rebuild and get stuff cleaned up. Everything was freezing so there was really quite a sense of urgency.”
The siren used doesn’t stay on by itself so Hicks stood outside physically holding the button down in the middle of the storm.
“I was holding my hand out, pushing my hand on the button. I hear the sirens start winding down and keep reaching out and I was like ‘I don’t feel the button anymore.'”
That’s because the button was gone.
“It got deposited about a block away. I looked around and thought, oh, we just had a tornado come through. It was surreal. It definitely felt like something out of a movie or a video game or something.”
Hicks walked away uninjured.
“I definitely think there was some greater, higher power watching over me that day. Wow, it really just came within inches of me and I was perfectly safe.”
Hicks said if he learned anything, it’s to look out for what’s coming next and to try to be ready for anything that could happen. The threat of severe weather is not just something to ignore.