Tornado, Flood: Serious Injury and Death in a Natural Disaster

Tornado, Flood: Serious Injury and Death in a Natural Disaster

National Preparedness Month – September 2016

Stormy weather isn’t new to those of us who live here in Indiana and Illinois, but we’ve sure had some bad flooding this month — along with a serious tornado or two.

Maybe you’ve seen that YouTube video of the tornado that hit Kokomo, Indiana, this past weekend and demolished a stand-alone Starbucks Cafe? (If not, check out several videos that captured the event as well as the local news coverage here.)

Six Tornadoes and Severe Flooding Hit Indiana

Central Indiana has had record rainfall this month. On Friday, tornadoes touched down in Danville, Pittsboro, and Brownsburg. The final count was six different tornadoes hit our part of the world last week, sweeping through parts of Carroll, Howard, Marion, and Montgomery Counties.

Two tornadoes hit Kokomo, one an EF-3 and the other, an EF-0.

Last Friday night, there was flash flooding in Indianapolis. It was fast, high water hitting neighborhoods — some people couldn’t get to their homes; some people couldn’t get out. WISH-TV spoke with one Hoosier who had water coming up to his waist in his Indianapolis living room.

September is National Preparedness Month

September is recognized by both the federal government as well as the State of Indiana as “National Preparedness Month” and we can expect lots of public awareness events as well as television announcements and social media coverage of the importance of being prepared for an emergency like flash floods or tornadoes. There’s even a federal website dedicated to helping people plan and prepare for an unexpected emergency, you can check it out at Ready.Gov.

This is a good thing, having a plan in advance for our loved ones in case of catastrophe. Having those funnel clouds on the horizon here in Indiana this weekend sure brings home how important it is to prepare ourselves and our loved ones for calamities like severe and dangerous storms, doesn’t it?

Preparing In Advance for Disasters Like a Tornado or Flooding

Most of us are aware of the need to have a game plan in the event that flooding hits our neighborhood, or if we lose power in our homes for several hours in a bad storm. However, it can be vital for many families to have an established Emergency Plan that all the family members understand, including things like communication plans in case a bad storm hits while kids are at school, parents are at work, or it’s a weekend where everyone is all over the place, at sporting events, or parties, concerts, or in movie theaters or restaurants.

Here are some suggestions to get your family ready for an emergency in the future (hat tip to Ready.Gov, the Indiana Department of Transportation, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)):

  • Sign up all family members to receive wireless emergency alerts on their phones.
  • Have a family meeting to discuss what all family members should do if they are caught away from home or other family members at the time of a disaster or emergency situation.
  • Prepare your home for a natural disaster, where you may not be able to have access to utilities. Have batteries, candles, etc., in sufficient supply, as well as a heat source for cooking (propane cooktop, barbeque grill, etc.).
  • Have at least 3 days worth of food for you and your pets in case you are not able to get to the grocery store (or if the store has been destroyed, blocked, etc.).
  • Have at least 3 days worth of medicine and prescriptions for you and your pets, as well.
  • Remember to have water for use other than drinking, for things like cleaning, flushing the toilets, etc.
  • To keep in touch with news reports, have a radio that is designed for emergency use. These can be powered by hand-cranking, for instance. A NOAA Weather Radio might be advisable.
  • Have the number and contact information of your local American Red Cross Chapter at ready access, in case you need to contact them for assistance.
  • Have an emergency communication network in place so you can let loved ones know where you are and that you are safe. If the phones are out, then how will family members get in touch? Where will they reunite?
  • Have important information stored on paper in case you cannot access your computer. Make sure all family members have copies of this document in their wallet or backpack.

For more suggestions on preparing for an emergency, including pdf forms for family preparedness plans, or how to begin to make a plan, check out Ready.Gov.

Blood Donation Drive – Indiana

One final thought. For those interested in donating blood in the aftermath of the recent Indiana tornadoes and floods, the American Red Cross is holding a Central Indiana Blood Drive in Muncie, Indiana, on September, 1, 2, and 22, 2016. Details are here.

Injury Claims After Natural Disasters Like Floods and Tornadoes

If someone is seriously injured or killed in a flood or tornado, then will Indiana law provide any avenues for justice here? Are there personal injury or wrongful death claims to be considered for those who suffer a tragedy during a disaster?

Can someone’s negligence be the cause of injury or death in a flood or tornado or other natural disaster? Yes. In our next post, we’ll discuss what accident victims and their families can do in the aftermath of a serious storm or tornado.

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