GREENSBURG — Last week, Governor Mike Pence signed a declaration formally declaring Nov. 17 to 23, Winter Weather Preparedness Week in the State of Indiana.
On Thursday morning, the Daily News spoke with Decatur County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Rob Duckworth about the declaration, which the director wholeheartedly welcomed.
“We get a significant amount of winter weather here in Decatur County,” he said. “In 2009, there was an ice storm that shut down power. We also had some storms with hurricane-force winds in 2009. We had similar events in 2011, 2008 and 2007. So I think it’s a good idea to get everybody thinking about it [winter weather preparedness], especially since we just had our first dusting of snow earlier this week.”
The Daily News obtained a copy of Pence’s declaration, and the document sites winter incidents in 1978, ‘91, ‘95, ‘96, ‘98, ‘99, 2000, ‘03, ‘05, ‘06, ‘07, ‘08, ‘09, ‘11 and ‘12 that required Federal aid.
The declaration goes on to state, “The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), American Red Cross, National Weather Service, other state partners, local officials and emergency personnel work to warn, care for and protect Hoosiers affected by the elements, clear the roads and restore any disruption of utility services caused by storms. However, this can often take hours and, in some cases, days.”
Duckworth mentioned previous winter ice storms in Muncie that left people without power for more than a week.
The director also cited a summer survey conducted by IDHS that found more than half of Hoosier households may not be prepared for a widespread emergency. The survey, Duckworth said, found that large numbers of people don’t know what to put in a preparedness kit; many don’t even believe an emergency preparedness kit is necessary.
Asked for his opinion why Hoosiers might not understand the need for a preparedness kit, Duckworth replied that, based on the results of the IDHS survey, “Many don’t think there will be an emergency of such magnitude in their area.”