Beginning of spring brings ‘Severe Weather Preparedness’ week

ADAMS COUNTY, Ind. (WANE)- The first week of spring is dedicated to severe weather preparedness, but emergency management officials are working to develop new strategies all year long.

John August, Director of Adams County Emergency Management, said the tornadoes that ripped through Indiana and Ohio last summer helped improve some of those strategies.

Tornadoes touched down in several areas last August, including Allen and Adams counties. According to John August, there were no injuries, but there was damage to barns and other structures in Adams County. He said it is the worst tornado he can remember since the 1960’s.

“That was probably the largest one we had,” he said. “It covered the most of our territory.”

As many worked to rebuild after the tornado, emergency management teams began working on ways to increase preparedness. August said they were already in the process of reviewing their current protocols and the storm led them to put new guidelines in place.

“There were things we probably didn’t do quite right,” he said. “So that gave us a good chance to do an after action plan.”

For example, firefighters will now scatter fire trucks and other equipment throughout the area instead of leaving them at the designated stations during a tornado watch.

“They don’t want it all sitting at the station just in case a tornado does hit the station,” he said.

In addition, August said the Adams County dispatch team will no longer rely solely on the National Weather Service alerts.

“We will be getting some of that information from our local television stations,” he said.

The constant change in weather patterns keeps them preparing for severe weather all year long. Although, typically the two peaks of severe weather happen in the spring and fall, according to Chief Meteorologist Nicholas Ferreri. August said the best way for people to stay on top of severe conditions is to use a with a weather radio.

“Don’t count on our outdoor sirens unless you’re outside,” he said.

Tuesday there will be some tornado siren drills by the national weather service. In Indiana, the statewide test will be done twice: at 10:15 a.m. and 7:35 p.m. In Ohio, there will only be one drill at 9:50 a.m. The weather radios will be triggered for the drills.