This week is Severe Weather Preparedness Week around the country, and here in Switzerland County, people are being helped with different ways that they can keep themselves and their families safe in the event of severe weather.
Tom Moore, director of the Switzerland County Emergency Management Agency, said that his office has been disseminating information around the community through social media and other sources, and is also setting up a special class to help people be more prepared.
In cooperation with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Switzerland County EMA is encouraging Switzerland County residents to plan ahead for extreme weather.
“We are encouraging people to make plans, such as creating a disaster preparedness kit, identify shelter in case there is severe weather, and practice emergency plans with your family,” Moore said.
He said that in putting together a disaster preparedness kit, families should make sure to include 10 key items:
• Food and water for three days ( include one gallon of water per person, per day).
• Battery-operated all hazard radio, or a simple AM/FM battery-powered radio if you don’t have access to a hazard radio.
• Extra batteries for the radio and the flashlight.
• 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, so security card, insurance, and banking information).
• Cash (preferably 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 a part of being prepared, Moore said that families, especially those with small children, should hold a severe weather drill. Take family members — quickly but calmly — to the location that the family has designated as their safe spot, ideally a basement.
“If the basement is not available, go to an interior room on the lowest level with no windows,” Moore said. “For those folks living in trailers, like out around Patriot, for example, I know that the church there in town is available for people to go.”
Moore said those families with small children should also have the child practice making an emergency phone call to another family member.
“It’s a good idea to have the child call someone, not 911, but a family member, and have that family member ask them questions so the child gets used to what might be asked in a real emergency, Moore said.
Moore also said that people who are going to shelter need to be mindful of flood waters that may come up over county roads.
He also said that the county has an alert system where residents can sign up for emergency alerts. To sign up, go to www.switzerland-county.com, then use the Departments pull down tab on the right to find Emergency Management, and in that area you can sign up for alerts.
Moore also said that he is expecting a shipment of emergency radios from the state, has the department has received in past years. These radios are free to residents while his supply lasts.
Also coming up is a class that is being co-sponsored by The National Weather Service and Switzerland County/Jefferson County EMA offices.
This Weather Spotters and Weather Safety Class will be held on Tuesday, April 2nd, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., and will be at the TEC Center in Vevay. Meteorologists from Wilmington, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky will be putting on the class. All Law Enforcement, Fire and Medical First Responders, as well as the public are welcome to attend.
For questions about the class, contact Moore at (812) 801-3141; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.