Oftentimes when a severe weather event is about to strike, citizens are not prepared to take action until it is too late. In order to avoid this kind of last-minute behavior, many states across the U.S. have instituted different kinds of weather awareness weeks to prepare for extreme cases of lightning, flooding, monsoons, hurricanes and many other natural disasters.
From March 18 to 24 in Indiana, the general Severe Weather Awareness Week will be observed to enhance preparedness for harsh weather conditions typically occurring in the spring and summer seasons.
In the wake of a series of tornadoes that struck the southern part of the state earlier this month – killing more than a dozen citizens and causing widespread property damage – this kind of preparedness for natural disasters is as relevant as ever.
As National Weather Service Meteorologist Crystalyme Pettet told Indiana Public Media, "There were warnings out before those tornadoes struck, but lead time is still typically only 10 or 20 minutes sometimes even less than that so you need to actually know what your plan is."
As such, in order to create optimal preparedness for a severe weather event should one occur, the state will facilitate a series of drills using sirens, text messages, email and social media to test the efficacy of current plans.
Considering how important this kind of exercise is, it would greatly benefit municipalities without strong continuity of operations provisions to send representatives to the "Conducting Successful Tabletop Exercises" workshop taking place at the Contingency Planning and Management Conference on April 3 and 4.
At this workshop, community representatives will have the opportunity to work with experienced disaster preparedness consultants who will provide a series of scripts for different table top exercises. Participants will then review these exercises with their peers, and have the opportunity to take a CD home that will allow the exercises to be recreated in their community.