The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is urging Hoosiers to prepare ahead to protect themselves and their loved ones from dangerous storms during Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Indiana, which is being observed March 20-26 2016.
“Hoosiers are well aware that the arrival of spring brings with it an increased threat of tornadoes and thunderstorms,” said John Erickson, Director of Public Information at IDHS. “Last year, Indiana saw its share of severe weather, including tornadoes, floods and dangerous thunderstorms. So at this time of year we prepare for events we hope will never happen again, and learn what to do if severe weather strikes.”
State homeland security suggests that Hoosier households break their severe weather preparation into three parts, planning, preparing and practicing.
- Purchase a weather radio whose label indicates that it is “all-hazards” and broadcasts alerts from the National Weather Service. Look for “NOAA” on the label (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Also look for the SAME Technology designation, which allows the radios to be programmed to specific counties and types of alerts.
- Know the difference between watches and warnings. A watch indicates a seriously increased possibility of a thunderstorm or tornado; a warning indicates that there IS a thunderstorm or tornado in the area.
- Ensure that household members know which local news media outlets to monitor for severe weather alerts, and to take those alerts seriously. Remember that national cable, satellite or streaming TV services may not carry localized weather alerts.
- Create a preparedness backpack that includes food and water for three days, a first-aid kit, flashlights, batteries, small tools and any other important items that are needed.
- Prune tree limbs and secure outdoor items that could be tossed about by high winds.
- Keep cell phones charged, and ensure all household members have several emergency contact numbers of friends and family members programmed in.
- Know which neighbors may have disabilities or mobility challenges, and be able to direct first responders to those who may need extra help.
- Take household members – quickly but calmly – to the location (ideally a basement; secondarily the center of an interior room with no windows, on the lowest level of the building) they would move to in severe weather.
- Practice moving under a sturdy table or desk, or pulling a mattress into a protective position.
- Walk through potential evacuation routes, both from the home and the neighborhood.
- Conduct a family drill in which children pretend to call 911 and calmly talk with an emergency dispatcher (a family member or friend can be on the other end of the line, requesting appropriate information).
- Participate in the Statewide Tornado Drill on Tuesday, March 22, at 10:15 a.m. EDT and 7:35 p.m. EDT. These drills provide an excellent opportunity for families, schools, and businesses to practice their weather safety action plan.
For more information on preparing for severe weather, visit GetPrepared.in.gov.