Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 4, 2014

Prepared for a disaster?

Kokomo Tribune

---- — Even before we closed the book last May on our five-week series of disaster preparedness, headlines came pouring in about tornadoes ripping through Texas and Oklahoma.

And the season was just getting started.

Bulldozers used to clear the way for rescue teams looking for people trapped in the debris were all part of plans put in place long ago. They’re the same plans local, state and federal officials have put in place in case another similar natural disaster strikes Kokomo.

Last year’s series focused on these efforts and why they’re so important to the general public and individual families.

But all we can do is tell you. We can’t come into your homes and make sure your family has a plan, and neither can local, state or federal emergency management agencies. To some extent, we’d probably all like to because we obviously care about your safety. Why else would we devote five Sundays to such coverage?

This week is National Severe Weather Preparedness Week. It’s an annual reminder that, ultimately, it’s up to you to be smart about where you build your home; to attend education programs put on by the health department to educate yourself and your family on what to do in case of an emergency; to heed the flood and weather warnings if and when they are issued.

None of these we can do for you. We know it’s easy to think, “It will never happen to me and my family, so I can ignore all that.” But after last year’s 100-year flood in April and twin tornadoes in November, that’s a dangerous assumption to make in this area of the country.

We’re in no way advocating you become a doomsdayer and pack a reinforced bunker with a decade’s worth of supplies. We simply urge you to put together a disaster plan and make sure everyone in your family knows what the plan is. It doesn’t have to be an intricate, thorough course of action down to the nth degree. It can simply be deciding on a meeting spot and predetermining who is responsible for what.

We hope you take the message to heart and make the decision to prepare yourself.

If you don’t, no one else will.