prepared before bad weather strikes
Beth Ramsey, Staff Writer
While the weather was a travelers dream for the Christmas
holiday and people could actually get outside and enjoy some sunshine,
it is the time of year when winter storms can hit and become winter
According to Barry Lauber, director of office services at Southeastern
Indiana REMC, approximately 15,000 customers were not prepared
to be without power for five to seven days during the February
2007 ice storm. These customers were for the seven county service
area for REMC, and not all were without power for the entire time.
It is important for families to be prepared, with supplies and
a plan, before the bad weather strikes.
Every family should have an all casualty plan, says
Wayne Peace, emergency management director for Ripley County.
This plan should include where to go in case of an emergency evacuation.
The EMA website, www.rcema.com has a list of emergency shelters
for every area. The plan should also include where children are
to go when schools close early for bad weather.
A home emergency kit should be readily available whenever bad
weather strikes. One will need a first aid kit, prescription medications,
food and water supply. At least a weeks worth, but
30 days supply is best, said Peace. Canned goods, such as
fruits and vegetables, powdered or evaporated milk, canned pastas,
tuna, canned chicken or fish, protein bars, dry cereal, and juices
are great choices for the emergency kit. Dont forget a can
opener! Your plan should include a gallon of water per person
per day. This will be for drinking and cooking as well as sanitation
purposes. Water should be stored in clean, plastic containers.
Include paper cups, plates, eating and cooking utensils in your
kit. Dont forget a wrench to turn off water or gas supplies.
Flashlights (with extra batteries) are better than candles, in
case of a gas leak.
Extra blankets and sleeping bags should be available for extra
warmth. One may decide upon an alternative heating source, such
as a wood stove or a kerosene heater, or a generator. Follow the
manufacturer instructions closely to keep you and your family
safe. Make sure the instructions for the use of the generator
is followed closely. According to Lauber, improper use of the
generator could cause damage to electrical lines and become a
Lauber also suggests a battery powered radio, with many replacement
batteries. He noted that REMC broadcasted updates on the local
radio stations three times a day during the February 2007 ice
storm. These broadcasts informed customers of the progress
REMC was making in returning power. We tried to keep people up
to date and informed, he told the Osgood Journal.
What will the children do during a power outage? With no television
or video games to provide entertainment, Peace suggests having
board games, card games, and coloring books on hand. The
kids will need something to do, he said.
Before traveling, let someone know your destination, and the time
you expect to arrive. It is important to have an emergency kit
inside of the car in case bad weather forces one off the road.
According to Peace, the kit should include bottled water, energy
bars, flashlight with extra batteries, and blankets. Those who
have a cell phone should keep a charger in their car. An important
item to keep with the emergency kit is something to attract attention.
This could be a bright colored flag or piece of cloth,
Remain with the vehicle if you slide off the road. Dont
run your car all the time, just a few minutes every hour. Keep
your window cracked to prevent a build up of carbon monoxide.
Finally, dont forget to check on elderly or homebound neighbors
and family members. If necessary, take them where they can receive
help. If possible, help them with a home emergency kit, before
the storm hits.
With some preparation and plenty of supplies, one can weather
the storm when inclement weather strikes. For more information
on assembling a home or car emergency kit, visit the Indiana Department
of Homeland Security website at www.in.gov/dhs.
WANDA BURNETT PHOTO
The Ripley County Highway Department stands ready for
the winter weather that could hit the county in the next
few weeks. Pictured in front of the 500 ton salt pile are:
Lawrence Nickell, county commissioner, Don Zapfe, county
highway driver, Robert Reiners, county commissioner, and
Rodney Hyatt, county highway driver. Junior Heaton, highway
superintendent noted that they have plenty of salt and cinders
to treat Ripley County roads when and if the snow and ice
falls and their trucks are all road ready.