(UNDATED) – The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) encourages Hoosiers to plan for extreme weather as part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 17-23.
“Severe Weather Preparedness Week serves as a great reminder of the increased potential for thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flooding in Indiana during the spring and early summer,” said David Hosick, director of public affairs at IDHS. “We are hopeful Indiana is not heavily impacted by severe weather this spring, but taking the time in advance to plan, prepare and practice can help minimize weather-related deaths, injuries and property damage.”
The Indiana Broadcasters Association (IBA) in cooperation with the National Weather Service (NWS) is conducting a test of the state Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Tuesday, at 10:15 a.m. EDT (9:15 CT) that will include a Live Tornado Warning alert. The 15-minute alert is done to ensure the system is working properly in the event of an actual tornado.
In the event of severe or inclement weather, the test will be rescheduled and held on the morning of Wednesday, March 20th.
“Testing our state’s EAS is critical to saving lives,” said IBA Executive Director Dave Arland. “With permission from the Federal Communications Commission, broadcasters will be listening for the Live Tornado Warning alert issued by the National Weather Service and alerting our listeners and viewers about the test. Making sure that alerts are broadcast as designed allows our TV and radio stations to better prepare for when an actual alert is necessary. These alerts are often the first line of defense in making sure Hoosiers can find shelter and safety when dangerous weather strikes.”
During stormy weather, residents are urged to remain alert and stay tuned in to 1340 WBIW, their local television stations and weather radios for the most up to date weather information and be prepared to move quickly to a designated “safe area,” should conditions develop and the emergency siren is activated.
Residents should also be mindful of the fact that emergency sirens are designed mainly for “outdoor” warning use and may not always be heard indoors.
IDHS encourages Hoosiers to build a disaster preparedness kit, identify shelter and practice emergency plans during this year’s preparedness week.
Ten important items to include in a household disaster preparedness kit include:
- Food and water for three days (include one gallon of water per person, per day)
- Battery operated all hazard radio (receives more than 60 types of emergency alerts)
- Extra batteries for radio and flashlight, if needed
- First aid kit
- Extra clothing, sturdy shoes, rain gear, blankets, and personal hygiene items
- List of emergency phone numbers
- Important documents (copies of photo ID, social security card, insurance, and banking information)
- Cash (small bills. Power outages can limit the ability to use ATMs and credit cards)
- Special items (baby formula, insulin, life-sustaining medication, pet supplies)
As part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, a statewide tornado drill is planned for 10:15 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19. This drill provides a valuable opportunity for families, schools, and businesses to practice severe weather emergency plans. Some ways families can practice during the statewide tornado drill are:
- Take household members – quickly but calmly – to the location, they would move to in severe weather, ideally a basement. If a basement is not available, go to an interior room on the lowest level with no windows. Storm cellars also offer excellent protection.
- Practice moving under a sturdy table or desk, or covering up with pillows, blankets, coats or a mattress to protect the head and body from flying debris.
- 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).
- Finding a suitable shelter is another important aspect to prepare for severe weather. If living in a mobile home or similar manufactured 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 also threatens Hoosiers during the spring months. Driving on flooded roadways can often place Hoosiers and emergency response personnel in unnecessary danger. Never drive through flooded roadways, even if the water appears shallow. The road may have washed out under the surface of the water.
To learn more about preparing for severe weather, visit GetPrepared.in.gov or follow IDHS on Facebook and Twitter.