In the past few months, Hoosier families have felt the effects of severe storms and historic rainfall across the region. In fact, from early June to mid-July, total rainfall reached over 15 inches, contributing to one of the wettest two-months in our state’s history.
In southeast Indiana, above-average rainfall has caused significant crop damage and losses to area farmers due to the flooding. Along with our farming community, local homeowners and businesses have also experienced major damage to their property and machinery as a result of the storms. While I hope the worst of these storms are behind us, it is our responsibility to know the risks and prepare in advance for inclement weather.
As a way to urge Hoosiers and prepare them for possible disasters or emergencies, the governor has declared September as Preparedness Month. To better prepare for the months ahead, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) is an excellent resource and has some great tips to keep you and your family out of harm’s way.
Regardless of the situation, in case emergency supplies are needed, it is important that your family has a disaster kit. These kits should include basic items such as water, food, a first aid kit and other life necessities. According to the IDHS, emergency personnel may longer than normal to reach you during an emergency, so these kits should be designed to last up to three days –at least. This means you should have three gallons of water per person and a three day supply of non-perishable food. If the power does goes out, have extra batteries for flashlights on hand as well as blankets, extra clothing and important documents, to name a few.
In addition to supplies, Hoosier families need to have a plan for how to contact one another during an emergency. The plan should include meeting locations, emergency phone numbers and any important medical information. Moreover, it is essential to make sure that each member of your family understands what to do if an emergency should occur and to practice your plan frequently. It can also be helpful to designate an out-of-state contact so your family and friends know who to contact in case local communication is down.
Another important aspect of emergency preparedness is being informed and helping others in your community. If a severe storm is headed your way, listen to the radio or switch on a local TV station, so you can be alerted about the current situation. Also, getting involved in community programs is a great way to help out and encourage others to adopt emergency plans in their households. Many of the skills that you develop in these programs can go a long way to keep you, your family and your neighbors safe.
Awareness is the first step towards safeguarding our families in the event of a disaster. Therefore, I hope you will take these tips and use them to better prepare your family for a potential emergency situation. For more information or emergency safety tips, please visit http://www.in.gov/dhs/getprepared.htm.
Rep. Ziemke (R-Batesville) represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.