April is Tornado Awareness Month

April is Tornado Awareness Month. Do you know where to seek shelter during a tornado? Learn what to do before, during & after one hits.

Image by Jonny Lindner from Pixabay
Image by Jonny Lindner from Pixabay

Tornadoes

Tornadoes can destroy your home, your business, buildings, flip cars, and create deadly flying debris. Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air that extend from a thunderstorm to the ground. Tornadoes can:

  • Happen anytime and anywhere;
  • Bring intense winds, over 200 MPH; and
  • Look like funnels.

 IF YOU ARE UNDER A TORNADO WARNING, FIND SAFE SHELTER RIGHT AWAY

  • If you can safely get to a sturdy building, then do so immediately.
  • Go to a safe room, basement, or storm cellar.
  • If you are in a building with no basement, then get to a small interior room on the lowest level.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You’re safer in a low, flat location.
  • Watch out for flying debris that can cause injury or death.
  • Use your arms to protect your head and neck.

HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A TORNADO THREATENS

Prepare NOW

  • Know your area’s tornado risk. In the U.S., the Midwest and the Southeast have a greater risk for tornadoes.
  • Know the signs of a tornado, including a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud; an approaching cloud of debris; or a loud roar—similar to a freight train.
  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts. If your community has sirens, then become familiar with the warning tone.
  • Pay attention to weather reports. Meteorologists can predict when conditions might be right for a tornado.
  • Identify and practice going to a safe shelter in the event of high winds, such as a safe room built using FEMA criteria or a storm shelter built to ICC 500 standards. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room on the lowest level of a sturdy building.
  • Consider constructing your own safe room that meets FEMA or ICC 500 standards.

 Survive DURING

  • Immediately go to a safe location that you identified.
  • Take additional cover by shielding your head and neck with your arms and putting materials such as furniture and blankets around you.
  • Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle.
  • If you are in a car or outdoors and cannot get to a building, cover your head and neck with your arms and cover your body with a coat or blanket, if possible.

Be Safe AFTER

  • Keep listening to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, and local authorities for updated information.
  • If you are trapped, cover your mouth with a cloth or mask to avoid breathing dust. Try to send a text, bang on a pipe or wall, or use a whistle instead of shouting.
  • Stay clear of fallen power lines or broken utility lines.
  • Do not enter damaged buildings until you are told that they are safe.
  • Save your phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messaging or social media to communicate with family and friends.
  • Be careful during clean-up. Wear thick-soled shoes, long pants, and work gloves.

Associated Content

 

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Spring Weather Safety

Spring has sprung! As wild spring weather approaches, be sure you know your risks and get prepared. Learn more from the National Weather Service: http://bit.ly/2JLhLU3

 

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IMPD to Host Community Listening Sessions As Part of Body Worn Camera Study

Beginning next week, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) will host a series of community listening sessions aimed at gathering feedback on a draft policy for body worn cameras. The listening sessions were first announced by Mayor Joe Hogsett and Chief Bryan Roach on February 4, when they laid out the community-and stakeholder-driven feasibility study that will seek input from both residents and rank-and-file officers in addition to a technology pilot period.

The feasibility study of body worn cameras will include an extensive community engagement process that kicks off with the community listening sessions and also includes a secure, web-based survey sponsored, created, and maintained by the IUPUI School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). Residents can access the survey here, which will be used to garner the community’s opinions on body-worn cameras, the technology used during the study period, and other related factors. At a later date a second round of community listening sessions will be announced to allow IUPUI SPEA to share survey results directly with community members.

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The study will also include a pilot of body worn camera technology. Several vendor technologies will be tested by the officers who serve in the busies shift on the largest districts – all beat officers and supervisors on North, East, and Southeast District middle shift. This is a second, larger pilot of body worn camera technology in Indianapolis, but the first time the community will take part in the assessment.

Residents can access the survey here: Survey

A community listening session will be held in each IMPD district during the first half of March. The schedule can be found below:

Southeast District March 4 at 6:00 pm Southeast Community Services 901 Shelby

Downtown District March 5 at 5:30 pm City Way YMCA 430 S. Alabama

Northwest District March 7 at 6:00 pm International Market Coalition 3685 Commercial

Southwest District March 11 at 6:00 pm Friendship Missionary Baptist Church 1301 Goodlet

North District March 12 at 7:00 pm Zion Hope Baptist Church 5950 E 46th

East District March 14 at 6:00 pm Eastern Star Baptist Church, J229 – 2nd Floor of Jewel Conference Center, use north entrance 5750 E 30th

Original Article

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What You Need to Know About Lightning Safety

by Erie Insurance on 

This week marks Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Though disasters like hurricanes tend to get more attention during the summer months, it’s important to know how to stay safe from lightning. That’s because lightning presents serious dangers to both people and property.

Lightning safety and people
Lightning can occur during any time of the year, but lightning casualties are highest during summer. July is generally the month with the most lightning. Lightning strikes often occur in the afternoon. Two-thirds of all lightning casualties occur between noon and 6 p.m. According to the National Weather Service, here are some more interesting facts:

  • Males are five times more likely than females to be struck by lightning; around 85 percent of lightning fatalities are men.
  • People aged 15 to 34 account for almost half of all lightning strike victims (41 percent).
  • About one-third (32 percent) of lightning injuries occur indoors.


Lightning safety and property
From 2007 to 2011, local U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 22,600 fires per year that were started by lightning according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires caused an average of nine civilian deaths and $451 million in direct property damage per year. Home fires accounted for 19 percent of the lightning fires. Fires in nonresidential structures, including businesses and other non-residential properties, accounted for 7 percent. Vehicle fires accounted for 1 percent. The remaining 73 percent were in outdoor and unclassified properties.

How to avoid lightning
There are important things to know when it comes to how to avoid lightning. Once you hear that first clap of thunder, remember to:

  • Postpone outdoor activities.
  • Heed the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
  • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
  • Get inside a home, building or automobiles with a hard top (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
  • Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
  • Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.
  • Unplug any electronic equipment before the storm arrives.

You are not safe anywhere outside. Run to a safe building or vehicle when you first hear thunder, see lightning or observe dark threatening clouds developing overhead. Stay inside until 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder. Do not shelter under trees.

If it’s not possible to get indoors or in a vehicle, these actions may reduce your chances of being struck by lightning:

  • Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top.
  • Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.
  • If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine or other low area. Remember, a tent offers NO protection from lightning.
  • Stay away from water, wet items (such as ropes) and metal objects (such as fences and poles). Water and metal are excellent conductors of electricity. The current from a lightning flash will easily travel for long distances.
  • The vast majority of lightning injuries and deaths on boats occur on small boats with NO cabin. It is crucial to listen to weather information when you are boating. If thunderstorms are in the forecast, do not go out. If you are out and cannot get back to land and safety, drop an anchor and get as low as possible. Large boats with cabins, especially those with lightning protection systems properly installed, or metal marine vessels, are relatively safe. Remember to stay inside the cabin and away from any metal surfaces. Stay off the radio unless it is an emergency.

When it comes to how to avoid lightning, you should also take precautions once you’re indoors:

  • Avoid contact with corded phones.
  • Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. If you plan to unplug any electronic equipment, do so well before the storm arrives.
  • Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower, wash dishes or do laundry.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.
  • Unplug electrical equipment

It’s important to prepare for natural and weather disasters. It’s also important to make sure you’re covered if something happens to your vehicle or home during a storm. Connect with the Scott Lynch Agency to make sure you have the coverage that’s right for you.

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Are you looking to rent a new place in 2018? We not only have great rates on auto, home, business and life insurance – we have great rates on renter’s insurance too. You may think you don’t need the insurance, but you never know what your neighbor is doing that may cause damage to your stuff. It’ is very inexpensive to protect your stuff. Call us at (317) 886-0081 or get a quote on line at Scott Lynch Agency.

Do you know your host liquor liability?

by Erie Insurance on 

As a party host, you probably don’t want to think about your potential liquor liability. But it’s something you’ll want to consider as your party planning gets under way this holiday season.

That’s because most states hold party hosts who offer excessive alcohol to their guests responsible for those guests’ actions behind the wheel. In those states, anyone injured by a drunk driver has the right to sue the host of the party who served the alcohol. Sometimes, criminal charges may even apply.

Recommendations on how to host your holiday party

This doesn’t mean you need to call off your party. Instead, keeping a few things in mind may significantly reduce your exposure to social host liquor liability.

  • Limit guests to people you actually know—and seriously consider cutting from your list anyone who habitually overindulges.
  • Encourage your guests to choose a designated driver before they arrive.
  • Serve plenty of nonalcoholic drinks and food to help counter the effects of the alcohol.
  • Have activities like dancing or games going on that don’t involve alcohol.
  • Stop serving alcohol well before the party ends.
  • Offer to call a cab or be the designated driver for anyone who appears intoxicated.

To limit your exposure to liquor liability even more, consider:

  • Hosting the event at a restaurant or bar that has a liquor license rather than at your home.
  • Hiring a professional bartender. Pros may be better able to recognize the signs of intoxication—and it’s easier to cut off someone you don’t know. This is especially true if a bartender completed the ServSafe® Alcohol program.

As a final precaution, review your homeowners or renters policy. It may offer coverage for damages sought by someone injured by a party guest.

For more information on liability insurance, contact an ERIE Agent in your community.

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