The Indiana Department of Homeland Security encourages Hoosiers to plan ahead 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.”

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:

  1. Food and water for three days (include one gallon of water per person, per day)
  2. Battery operated all hazard radio (receives more than 60 types of emergency alerts) 
  3. Flashlight 
  4. Extra batteries for radio and flashlight, if needed 
  5. First aid kit 
  6. Extra clothing, sturdy shoes, rain gear, blankets and personal hygiene items 
  7. List of emergency phone numbers 
  8. Important documents (copies of photo ID, social security card, insurance and banking information) 
  9. Cash (small bills. Power outages can limit ability to use ATMs and credit cards) 
  10. 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 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.