Wanda English Burnett - Editor
Some of the reminders of the ice
and snow storms that hit the county this month are the clean
up crews sawing up trees and tree limbs, people making repairs
to their home, and some people who are healing from accidents
caused during that time.
While residents didnt have a lot of time to prepare for
the winter weather, the Ripley County Chapter of the American
Red Cross has some suggestions should it happen again. Information
from Sandy Vanderbur, executive director, notes that When
the forecast involves a watch or warning, residents should then
begin preparing for the storm forecasted.
When preparing for a winter storm that could involve ice, you
need to realize the possibility of power outages. Another factor
is you may not be able to leave your home due to road conditions.
You should keep the following items on hand, according to Vanderbur:
extra blankets, warm coats, gloves, hats, battery powered radio,
flashlight, extra batteries, energy bars, dry cereal, canned
food (that can be eaten without heat), can opener, bottled water
(1 gallon per person to last three days), sufficient medicine
supply, supplies for babies, a non-electric phone, first aid
kit and fuel, propane, wood or a generator for source of heat
if power is lost.
If power is lost you should listen to the local radio stations
(WRBI or WSCH) for further instructions about shelters available
in the area. This is where your battery powered radio comes
During the recent storms, the radio stations were announcing
the shelters available in Ripley County twice an hour. Those
shelter lists were also available by calling the Ripley County
Red Cross Office, 911 communications at the sheriffs department,
your local fire department, the Ripley County EMA office and
local police departments.
Vanderbur noted that during an ice storm it is difficult for
the Red Cross or any other agency to travel the roads to pass
out shelter information or go door to door to inform residents
of the shelters that are open. That is why it is very
important to have a battery powered radio for instructions about
shelters, commented Vanderbur. She continued by saying
that shelters were open during the ice storm for 48 hours with
only seven individuals using them. Three people went home once
their furnace was repaired, two others went to stay with family
members and the other two decided to stay in a hotel. After
24 hours with the shelters having no residents stay in them,
they were closed. Our shelters are run by volunteers,
who miss work while running a shelter, and they had already
missed two days of work - without pay - and lack of interest
from residents in Ripley County prompted the Red Cross to close
the shelters with the option to open them back up within an
hours notice, stated Charlie Israel, chairman of
the board for the Red Cross.
There were shelters in Batesville and Versailles, because there
was power in those areas. When you have a shelter opened
it has to have adequate supply of electric for those using oxygen
tanks or other medically necessary machines, noted Vanderbur.
The shelter also has to be handicap accessible and able to hold
cots if needed. Another reason the shelters were set up in Batesville
and Versailles was due to road conditions. The roads were
in horrible shape and the Red Cross wanted to keep the shelters
in town to keep those traveling to shelters safe.
Vanderbur noted that some residents in the community felt the
Red Cross was not doing anything to help individuals during
this storm and its aftermath. I feel the Red Cross did
an excellent job, we just didnt have people wanting to
travel to the shelters we had opened, noted Israel.
The Ripley County Red Cross chapter members want the public
to know how important it is to prepare for dangerous weather
conditions. With tornado season right around the corner, residents
are urged to be prepared. If you would like information on making
a plan for storms and preparing your family for what may come
in the future please call the Red Cross at 689-6308. Information
brochures can be sent to you. Also, you can go online to redcross.org
to receive preparation information.
The Ripley County Red Cross chapter would be glad to send a
representative to your group or organization to educate on disaster