Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

March 25, 2013

Spring brings threat of severe weather


CNHI

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Local, state, and national organizations are encouraging Hoosiers to prepare now for thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flooding as part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week.

State agencies, including the Indiana Public Safety Commission, Indiana Department of Education, Indiana State Police, Indiana Department of Transportation, Indiana Broadcasters Association, and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, in cooperation with the National Weather Service, the American Red Cross, local emergency management agencies and the amateur radio community, will be observing Severe Weather Preparedness Week now through Saturday.

While severe weather can strike at any time, volatile weather frequently accompanies the arrival of spring. Historically, Indiana has experienced some of the worst thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flooding incidents during the spring months.

Planning and preparedness can help minimize weather-related deaths, injuries, and property damage.

As part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, on Wednesday, March 27, a test of the Emergency Alert System will sound sometime between 10 and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday on commercial radio, television networks, and all hazards radios. These drills are meant to provide an opportunity for families, schools, and businesses to practice their weather safety action plan.

In addition to knowing what to do during a severe weather emergency, it’s also important to be prepared in advance. All Hoosiers, who are able to, are encouraged to purchase an all hazards radio for their home. These battery-powered radios air more than 60 emergency alerts such as hazardous weather and other local area warnings, including up to date weather information broadcast directly from the National Weather Service.

All citizens are also encouraged to prepare or update a disaster preparedness kit. Items to include in your disaster kit are food and water for three days (include one gallon of water per person per day); a battery operated all hazards radio; a flashlight; extra batteries for radio and flashlight; a first aid kit; extra clothing, sturdy shoes, rain gear, blankets, and personal hygiene items; a list of emergency phone numbers; important documents (copies of photo ID, social security card, insurance and banking information); cash (small bills, as power outages can limit the ability to use ATMs and credit cards; and special items needed such as baby formula, insulin, and medication.

Finding suitable shelter is another important aspect to preparing for severe weather. If living in a mobile home or similar structure, it is important to locate a safe shelter in advance. For those living in homes or apartment buildings, residents should take shelter in the lowest level of the building, away from windows and doors.

Flooding is also an issue Hoosiers may deal with in the spring months. Floods can be very expensive, and purchasing flood insurance is one of the most cost-effective steps a homeowner can take to protect their home. FEMA’s FloodSmart website has created a tool to quickly estimate the cost of damages from various amounts of floodwater in a home. FloodSmart.gov also includes resources to help homeowners prepare their homes for a flood.

For more information about preparing for severe weather and floods, visit the website at GetPrepared.IN.gov.