Hamilton County plans for Severe Weather Preparedness Week
March 16 through 22 has been declared as Severe Weather Preparedness Week for Indiana by Gov. Pence. Severe weather can take many forms including hail, lightning, thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding and strong winds. Hamilton County Emergency Management encourages area residents to stay educated about severe weather as knowing what to do in the event of a severe weather incident may be a lifesaver.
As part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, two statewide tornado drills are scheduled for March 20. The first drill will be around 10:10 a.m. and an evening drill will occur around 7:30 p.m. During both tornado drills, warning sirens will activate around Hamilton County. Area residents are encouraged to practice severe weather safety drills at work and at home. This is a perfect time to discuss safety with co-workers and family members.
Severe weather can happen at any time as Indiana residents found out in 2013 with flooding in April and December, tornadoes and strong winds in November, and heavy snow and cold throughout the winter. Be alert by listening to weather forecasts and signing up for cell phone weather warnings. Take steps ahead of time by developing a family communication plan and putting together emergency kits for the home and each vehicle. More ideas on creating emergency kits and supplies can be found at www.ready.gov/basic-disaster-supplies-kit.
During a tornado or other strong wind event:
• Basements, cellars, or ground floor interior rooms provide the best protection.
• Stay away for exterior walls, windows, and doors.
• Get out of a mobile home and seek shelter in a building with a strong foundation.
• If in a vehicle, do not try to outrun a tornado. A tornado can switch directions and move quickly. Get out of the vehicle and into a building if possible. Otherwise, lay flat in a ditch or low area and cover your head. If there is no low area available, stay buckled up in the vehicle, put your head below window level, and cover up with clothes, blankets, or cushions.
During a thunderstorm or lightning event:
• Stay away from doors and windows and off porches.
• Avoid corded electrical appliances including devices plugged in for recharging.
• Avoid contact with plumbing as pipes and water can carry an electrical charge.
• If outside, avoid hilltops, trees, and other natural lightning attracters. Take shelter in a sturdy building. Get off the water and avoid boats and anything metal.
• If driving, safely pull off the road. Stay in the vehicle but avoid touching metal parts that may conduct electricity.
The Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency is available to assist area residents in planning for and responding to severe weather events. For more information, contact emergency management at 770-3381 or visit www.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/department/index.php?structureid=16