Local organizations talk about preparing in case of an emergency - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Local organizations talk about preparing in case of an emergency due to severe weather

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Elkhart County Emergency Management discussed creating an emergency plan Elkhart County Emergency Management discussed creating an emergency plan
The Michiana area may be in store for quite a but of rain in the upcoming week. The same can't be said for areas south of Indiana who have experienced tornadoes over the past few days. Tornadoes killed 16 people in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma.

"Hearing about it has definitely opened my eyes that I should definitely get a kit together," Niles resident Jeff Bridges said.

Although there are no indications of severe weather for the Michiana area this week, it doesn't mean you should not be prepared for an emergency. Elkhart County Emergency Management and the American Red Cross Elkhart County Chapter both stress that people should always have an emergency plan in case there ever is a time where it is needed. Both groups say that the there should always be a kit designed to last you for three days.


"If they're prepared at home it's going to make it safer for them and a little easier on us if and when the bad weather does hit," Director of Elkhart County Emergency Management Jennifer Tobey said.

"You're preparing now for that tornado that might happen next month, in two months, or in three months," Judy Christophel of the American Red Cross Elkhart County Chapter said.

Tobey and Christophel says important items to have are non-perishable food, extra clothes, flashlights, batteries and weather alert radios. Both also reminded people to keep the safety of their pets in mind. Christophel added that having water on hand is vital. "When it comes to water you need a gallon of water per person in the house for everyday," Christophel said.

Another important reminder when building you emergency plan is to know where to go. South Bend resident Sherry Sauer says her daughter-in-law has taken care of that part of the plan. "If there's no communication that they would meet I believe they said a spot in Indianapolis. Just like a central location that everybody knows to go to to make sure everyone is okay."

The American Red Cross offers a number of free applications for your cell phone which include a Tornado App and a Shelter Finder App. While having a charged cell phone is important, Tobey fears people might depend on cell phones a little too much.

"I'm not really in favor of people going away from a landline,” Tobey said. She says that if cell towers were damaged then the landline is there for you. “You can still call 9-1-1,” Tobey said.

The American Red Cross has a program called Safe and Well and it is used to connect people who have been caught in a weather related incident. Safe and Well allows people to register their name with the Red Cross and only people that they have allowed access to would be able to search for them to see if they are doing well.

If you have purchased a weather alert radio, you can take it to the Elkhart County Emergency Management office to have it programmed for free.

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