This month is National Preparedness Month, an annual event promoted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For the States of Indiana and Illinois, it means getting ready in advance for the kinds of disasters unique to our part of the country. In fact, this week Indiana Governor Mike Pence proclaimed this month as Preparedness Month for Indiana, asking Hoosiers to get ready now for emergencies and disasters that result from either natural events or man-made ones.
In Governor Pence’s statement, he included the following tips:
- Prepare and practice a home communications plan. Designate an out-of-state contact so family and friends know who to call if local communications are not operating. Sometimes after a disaster communication to surrounding areas can be cut off or overwhelmed, but long-distance communication may still work.
- Parents should know their children’s school emergency plan and how to react if the plan is activated.
- Know employers’ emergency plan in the event an emergency happens at work.
What are Possible Indiana and Illinois Disasters?
According to FEMA, Indiana and Illinois are at risk of natural hazards that can become public emergencies that include tornadoes, flooding, and the damage caused by high winds and rain from severe thunderstorms. Severe winter weather, like the blizzard of 2011, broke historic records:
“The blizzard of 2011 dumped a foot and a half of snow over parts of Illinois. Antioch recorded an astounding 27 inches. Drifts reached 53 mph [sic], rendering major roads such as Chicago’s Lakeshore Drive impassable. Stranded commuters were forced to abandon cars en masse. On the roads still open, State Police reported nearly 40 crashes.“
Preparing for these kinds of disasters includes being aware of the dangers and knowing when to monitor newscasts for weather conditions as well as being aware of surrounding signs of impeding natural hazards (e.g., dark skies, large hail, roaring sound for tornadoes).
Getting Ready for Family Emergencies – It’s Not Just Natural Disasters
This month’s campaign to get folks ready for a natural disaster with an emergency plan is great — but families need to know that it’s not just big storms, blizzards, or tornadoes that can cause a sudden emergency.
Individual families can be sideswiped by life events in other ways as well and having an emergency plan in place for these kinds of things is important, too.
National Preparedness Month may be targeting things like winter weather or major storms, but the reality is that many families in Indiana and Illinois will be shocked and harmed by events unique to their circumstances with things like:
- Car crashes;
- Injuries at work;
- Injuries at school; or
- Slip and fall accidents.
In these situations, families must deal not only with the emotional shock and chaos that comes with these life-changing events, they must also deal with the practicalities of things like:
- how information about the victim’s status is going to be shared (who gives family updates about medical condition, etc.),
- who can take care of the kids if the parent(s) aren’t there to pick them up from school, etc.,
- who can deal with the home front concerns like pet care, yard maintenance, checking the mail, etc.,
- Paying the monthly bills and meeting expenses if the breadwinner is unable to do so.
Personal injury claims are sometimes based upon the aftermath of a natural disaster but oftentimes these claims are based upon the negligence or wrongful conduct in a particular circumstance. To that injury victim, being prepared in advance for that possibility is just as important and wise for their family as any disaster preparation plan for a tornado or blizzard.